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Proposal To Regulate E-Cigarettes Coming 'Very Soon' Says FDA Chief

Update Date: Apr 04, 2014 12:07 PM EDT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is "pushing very hard" to release a proposal that would regulate the usage of e-cigarettes, the head of the agency said on Thursday. 

According to Reuters, the FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told senators at a Congressional budget hearing that it has taken too long to propose the rule forward and that she expects the law to be ready "very soon."

Reportedly, the FDA's proposal is currently being examined by the White House's Office of Management and Budget. The entity reviews potential regulations to assess their economic impact. 

Lawmakers and public health advocates are pressing for prompt release of the proposal arguing that the delay will ultimately present risks to children who are generally attracted by the varied flavors available in e-cigarettes. 

OMB has been reviewing the proposal for around five months and yet has not said when it will be completed.

Citing the delay by OMB as disgraceful, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon said makers of tutti-frutti flavored e-cigarettes and strawberry-flavored cigars have "an insidious strategy to addict our children to nicotine," as quoted by Reuters.

"Four years and four months to get the first draft over to OMB is unacceptable," he said. For OMB to sit on it for months, he added, "is unacceptable."

FDA chief said the criticisms were fair. 

"I do believe that very soon I will be able to call you, and say the deeming rule is out," she said.

"We do feel that this in an area that requires greater attention, action and concern," Hamburg added.

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