Murkowski, Romney, Collins offer bill to slap user fees on e-cigarette manufacturers

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that electronic cigarette use among high school and middle school students is rising, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) recently unveiled the bipartisan Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act. 

As original cosponsors, Sens. Murkowski, Romney and Collins on July 22 joined bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to introduce S. 2445, which would require that e-cigarette manufacturers pay user fees to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help fund increased FDA oversight of the industry and to bolster awareness about e-cigarettes, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Romney’s staff. Manufacturers of traditional combustible tobacco products currently pay into FDA user fees, but e-cigarette companies are exempt due to a loophole in the law.

“Electronic nicotine devices should be subject to the same user fees that the FDA assesses on the manufacturers and importers of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco,” Sen. Romney said. “By granting the FDA the authorization to collect user fees on e-cigarettes, our legislation will further efforts to tackle the vaping crisis and protect the lives of children in Utah and across the country.”

If enacted, S. 2445 would increase the total amount to be collected in tobacco user fees by $100 million in fiscal year 2022 and would index that amount to inflation for future years, the summary says, and the amount collected from individual e-cigarette manufacturers would be proportional to their share of the overall tobacco market, as determined by the FDA.

“As we face alarming increases in youth vaping, it is crucial that we continue work to prevent another generation of Americans from becoming addicted to nicotine,” Sen. Murkowski said. “While we have made progress in reducing the number of teens who use cigarettes, we know the numbers—more and more teens and high school students are using vaping products.”

The additional revenue from e-cigarette user fees specifically would allow the FDA to conduct safety reviews of vaping products, prevent sales of e-cigarettes to minors, help support efforts to educate youth on the dangers of e-cigarettes, and increase the agency’s oversight and enforcement capabilities, according to the summary. 

“The use of e-cigarettes by our young people threatens the progress we have made to reduce overall tobacco use. I have heard from teachers across Maine about the issue of vaping in our high schools and middle schools,” said Sen. Collins. “Although we have taken important steps that are already making a difference in reducing the rate of youth vaping, more work remains to be done.”