Back in 2010, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the FDA did not have the authority to regulate e-cigs as medical devices as long as they weren't marketed with therapeutic claims -- as in, "it'll help you quit smoking." Well, when the D.C. Circuit closes one door, the FDA breaks open a window.
The FDA is set to begin regulating e-cigs as tobacco products, the Los Angeles Times reports. Today the FDA proposed rules that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors (already outlawed in some states), while continuing to allow advertising, online sales (presumably with online age verification), and flavored liquids that might or might not appeal to children.
The proposed regulation would also require that e-cigarette packaging carry the following message:
WARNING: This product contains nicotine derived from tobacco. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.
What Are Electronic Cigarettes?
You've seen them around. E-cigarettes are hand-held devices that allow the user to draw a nicotine-containing vapor into their lungs. It's sort of like cigarettes, except with vapor instead of smoke. (Contrary to popular belief, the vapor is not water vapor. All electronic vaporizers contain a solution of either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, according to ABC News.)
Some commonly espoused advantages of e-cigs include:
Some Disadvantages Too
On the other hand, critics often call attention to some purported drawbacks to e-cigs. For example:
So how will this all pan out? Oh, wild guess, more litigation? But hopefully not. The FDA and the e-cig manufacturers don't have to be enemies. Both have the same goal: to insure that adults have a safe product that is an alternative to cigarettes.
The FDA's proposed e-cigarette regulations are set to be posted on Regulations.gov Friday morning. That's when the 75-day public comment period will begin.