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Durbin, Democrats Rip E-Cigarettes as 'Candy-Flavored Poisons,' Want Ban on Sale to Children

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seven Senate Democrats are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes, citing a new report on nicotine poisoning.  

The senators, led by Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, asked FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg in a new letter to regulate newly-developed nicotine products.  

"The emerging market of new nicotine delivery products raises serious public health and consumer protection concerns. It's time for the FDA to stop the sale of these candy-flavored poisons to our children," Durbin and his colleagues wrote in Tuesday's letter.  

The latest in a series of missives about so-called e-cigs comes in response to a New York Times report on hazards associated with the nicotine liquids that are used in filling e-cigarettes. The New York Times referred to them as "powerful neurotoxins." Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Boxer of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon joined in the new letter.  

"Over the years we have seen the emergence of new nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, hookah pens, dissolvable nicotine orbs and strips, and liquid nicotine products, also called e-liquids, which are marketed to appeal to children with bright colors and flavors like cherry and bubble gum," the senators wrote. "Unlike traditional cigarettes and tobacco products, these novel nicotine products are not subject to federal regulations that prohibit sale to minors, restrict marketing to youth, ban products in candy and fruit flavors, and regulate manufacturing practices and ingredients."