Policy

Durbin Back on the Warpath Against E-Cigarette ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons’

Introducing new legislation to make e-cig manufacturers show benefits

Sen. Richard J. Durbin has new legislation designed to curtail flavored e-cigs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has launched a new offensive against a familiar foe: electronic cigarettes.

For years, the Illinois Democrat has been alarmed by the use of e-cigs by young adults — and flavorings that seem designed to appeal to kids, like gummy bear.

Durbin was in Chicago on Monday to announce his latest effort. He plans to introduce a bipartisan bill with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would impose new restrictions on electronic cigarettes, unless manufacturers can show to the Food and Drug Administration, within one year, that flavorings that seem child-friendly are really smoking cessation devices.

“We have made great progress in convincing kids not to start smoking cigarettes. They know that cigarettes kill and that, nowadays, it’s hard to find someplace where smoking cigarettes is even allowed,” Durbin said in a statement. “But, I am convinced that e-cigarettes represent the ‘re-invention of smoking,’ cooked up by Big Tobacco to hook a new generation.”

Durbin’s previously been involved in other legislative efforts designed to curtail e-cigarette usage, and also called on Hollywood to avoid encouraging the practice.

Durbin led a group of Senate Democrats in calling the e-cigs, “candy-flavored poisons” back in a 2014 letter to the then-commissioner of the FDA.

The legislation announced Monday also would require a prohibition on flavored cigars, citing the existing ban on flavorings other than menthol for traditional cigarettes.

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