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Recently, Mike Rud, of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association, had a letter published in news outlets attacking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “deeming rule.” He opposed the idea of the FDA reviewing and approving vaping products. Concern for company profits seem to take precedence over product safety. The e-cig companies have had years to test for effectiveness and safety, and still have nothing to show for it.

We need the FDA’s “deeming rule.” E-cigarettes have become ever more popular among high school students. Even though age of sale for tobacco and e-cigarette products is 18, 23 percent of state high schoolers say they currently use vaping products. Our kids make up a large part of the vaping industry’s consumer base because they are more willing to try e-cigarettes than traditional tobacco. Are retailers and vaping proponents thinking of these kids when attacking the FDA?

Concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes, and doubts over their effectiveness to help people quit smoking, mean that the FDA doesn’t recommend them for cessation. These products can lead to a variety of lung complications, or as researchers at the University of California at San Francisco are now discovering, they can double the odds of a heart attack.

A few weeks ago, an assistant principal at Jamestown High School suffered nicotine poisoning after confiscating a vaping device and its liquid on school grounds. A small amount of oil residue on his hands was enough to make him very ill. The same amount on a small child or pet would be devastating and possibly deadly.

In the 2018 omnibus budget discussions between the U.S. House and Senate, Sen. John Hoeven stood firm in rejecting proposed tobacco policy riders that would have weakened FDA oversight. Thank you, Sen. Hoeven. We hope your peers in Congress will follow your lead.

Eric I. Johnson, Grand Forks

Dr. Eric Johnson serves as the 2018 president for Tobacco Free North Dakota, a statewide independent nonprofit working on tobacco prevention policy.

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