AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Democracy Forward is representing six leading public health organizations – the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and the Truth Initiative – in their attempt to defend public health regulations against two federal lawsuits brought by the tobacco industry.
The lawsuits – Cigar Association of America v. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cyclops Vapor 2, LLC v. FDA – seek to overturn a public health rule that empowered the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, cigars, and other previously unregulated tobacco products. Our clients are attempting to intervene to defend the rule because the Trump Administration may choose to abandon important public health protections.
The protections stem from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a 2009 law banning flavored cigarettes and cigarette advertising practices that target minors. The landmark law also gave the FDA authority to regulate other tobacco products, like e-cigarettes and cigars, but only after the agency “deemed” them subject to regulation. Until then, the tobacco industry was free to target kids — and that’s exactly what they did. Companies designed thousands of candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarette and cigar products with kid-friendly names like “Unicorn Milk,” “I Love Donuts,” and “Wild Rush.” As a result, cigar smoking became at least as prevalent among youth as cigarettes and the percentage of high school students smoking e-cigarettes grew by nearly 800% between 2011 and 2014, making e-cigarettes the most widely used tobacco product among youth.
FDA responded by conducting a comprehensive five-year review, resulting in a rule “deeming” e-cigarettes and cigars subject to regulation. That rule is now under attack, and if the Trump Administration refuses to adequately defend the health and safety of American adults and children, public health advocates will.