Wyden Calls For Insight On E-Cigarette Imports

GAO Report Points to Lack of Import Tracking Despite Booming Market

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman Meredith Broadbent today requesting the government adopt statistical reporting numbers for imports of electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) in response to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which looked at the e-cigarette market and rise in imports over the past year.  New reporting data would provide insights into the source, value, and volume of e-cigarette imports into the U.S. and tariff revenue collected on these products.

“E-cigarettes represent a fast growing, multi-billion dollar market and yet we know very little about how much is coming into our country, who is manufacturing the product, or the ultimate public health implications of these unregulated products,” Wyden said. “With use among middle and high school students tripling in the past year alone, it’s time we collect baseline information on e-cigarette imports that will help us most effectively consider and propose regulatory options.”

The report highlights how the U.S. market for e-cigarettes was roughly $2.5 billion in 2014, with approximately 90% of these products coming from China.   It also reinforces that the full extent of imports and sources are unknown – as well as e-cigarette components and intermediate chemicals used to manufacture nicotine-containing liquids – as they are not currently tracked under any regulatory or revenue system. 

Wyden and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, requested the report from GAO in August of 2014.

Read the GAO report here.  The letter can be found here.

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