WASHINGTON — Boston’s public health chief joined health officials from 10 other cities in urging the US Food and Drug Administration Thursday to toughen the agency’s proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes.
“They don’t go far enough,” Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in an interview before an afternoon meeting of policy makers and health advocates on Capitol Hill. “The FDA should aggressively limit access to minors and not allow marketing to them or flavorings like bubble gum.”
Last week, the agency proposed to regulate e-cigarettes — which contain nicotine in liquid form that is heated and inhaled as vapor — as tobacco products, but stopped short of some of the harsher restrictions that apply to cigarettes.
While the new rule would restrict sales to minors, ban free samples, and place health warning labels on products, it does not limit advertising, ban online sales, or force manufacturers to remove sweet flavorings that appeal to younger people.
“There are gaps in the proposed regulations that must be addressed to protect and promote the public’s health, such as the marketing, flavoring, and manufacturing of e-cigarettes,” the city health officials wrote in a letter sent Thursday to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
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