President Trump is under pressure to follow through on his promise to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
Political leaders from both parties initially praised Trump when federal health officials made the announcement last month that they would restrict the sale of all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes.
Trump focused on a massive spike in teen vaping and the spread of a mysterious illness that has now sickened more than 1,600 people across the country and killed at least 34.
But now more than a month after Trump and health officials sat in the Oval Office and announced their intentions, the administration has yet to publish any guidelines.
Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco program, told reporters recently that the rule is a “very, very high priority, and we’re trying to complete work on it as quickly as possible.”
But the administration has also been feeling pressure from the right, which worries it is overreaching and will hurt businesses.
Democrats and public health groups are worried because they have been ratcheting up their advocacy efforts with a flurry of letters to the president and other administration officials.
They believe the delay could mean Trump might bow to political pressure from his reelection campaign, which is reportedly pushing the president to water down the ban to exempt mint and menthol flavors.
Federal data shows that nearly two-thirds of high schoolers who use e-cigarettes use mint or menthol flavors.
“Flavored e-cigarettes are attractive to kids and are a huge public health concern, and politics should never outweigh the common good in setting our nation’s public health policy,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday.
In the Senate, a group of over 25 Democrats expressed similar concerns.
“With each day, more children continue to be lured to e-cigarettes by flavors such as fruit, candy, and mint or menthol. We are therefore deeply troubled that there is no final compliance policy more than six weeks after the Oval Office announcement,” the senators wrote.