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ROC Weekly News Bites
White House Strategy to Slow Overdoses, FDA Ban on Juul E-Cigarettes, and Canada Wants Warnings on Every Cigarette
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
White House Pushes Strategy to Slow Overdoses as Street Drugs Grow More Deadly
The Biden administration says it plans to cut the number of fatal overdoses in the United States by 13% by 2025, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives.
That would mean reversing a catastrophic four-fold rise in drug deaths that began in the late 1990s and accelerated again during the pandemic.
"We must approach this crisis with a sense of urgency that prioritizes saving lives as our North Star," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). He spoke Wednesday before a Senate oversight committee.
Gupta also acknowledged the growing power of Mexican drug cartels and other international narcotics gangs that "operate seamlessly across borders and cooperate with remarkable efficiency."
According to government officials, the cartels now contaminate much of the illicit drug supply in the United States with fentanyl, driving the latest surge of fatal overdoses.
A report made by the General Accountability Office also found the ONDCP drug strategy document, unveiled in April, failed to detail resources needed to slow drug trafficking and reduce overdose deaths.
"We found that while the national drug control strategy outlines goals, it does not provide an estimate of the federal funding or other resources needed to achieve these goals," the analysis concluded.
FDA Bans Juul E-Cigarettes as U.S. Pursues Broader Crackdown on Nicotine Products
The Food and Drug Administration announced that it is banning the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in the U.S.
Juul intends to seek a stay on the decision and is exploring options, which include appealing the decision or engaging with the FDA, Chief Regulatory Officer Joe Murillo said in a statement.
The ban is part of the FDA’s broader review of the vaping industry following years of pressure from politicians and public health groups to regulate the segment as strictly as other tobacco products after vaping became more common among high schoolers.
Juul had sought approval from the agency for its vaping device and tobacco- and menthol-flavored pods, which are available at 5% and 3% nicotine strengths. The flavors were not subject to a 2020 agency ban on mint- and fruit-flavored vaping products that were popular with teens.
The FDA said Juul’s applications gave insufficient or conflicting data about the potential risks of using the company’s products, including whether potentially harmful chemicals could leak out of the Juul pods.
Canada Proposes Printing a Warning on Every Cigarette
Canada is poised to become the first country in the world to require that a warning be printed on every cigarette.
The move builds on Canada's mandate to include graphic photo warnings on tobacco products' packaging — a policy that started an international trend when it was introduced two decades ago.
"We need to address the concern that these messages may have lost their novelty, and to an extent, we worry that they may have lost their impact as well," Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett said at a news conference.
"Adding health warnings on individual tobacco products will help ensure that these essential messages reach people, including the youth who often access cigarettes one at a time in social situations, sidestepping the information printed on a package."
"This is going to set a world precedent," Cunningham said, adding no other country has implemented such regulations. He's hopeful that the warning will make a real difference.
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