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Dick Durbin berates FDA commissioner over e-cigarette inaction

Sen. Dick Durbin discussing tobacco use
Sens. Richard Durbin (C) and Todd Young talk about their proposed "Tobacco to 21" legislation during a news conference, May 8, Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent acting FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless a biting letter on Wednesday, writing that he believes Sharpless has "no intention" of addressing the youth e-cigarette epidemic after a meeting between the two on May 14.

What he's saying: Durbin warned Sharpless not to make the same mistakes as his predecessor Scott Gottlieb by underestimating the impact of rampant youth vaping. "I write to again reiterate the specific actions that FDA should be taking, today, to protect children from a lifetime of addiction."

Context: Durbin and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced legislation to restrict flavored e-cigarettes in March. Gottlieb also worked to ban flavored cigars and threatened to limit flavored vape pen sales, and previously described the use of e-cigarettes as a "public health epidemic."

Read the letter:

Go deeper: The FDA's formal vaping proposal is finally here