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FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

FDA Announces Plans to Begin Regulating E-Cigarettes


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

While the proposal being issued Thursday won't immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.

The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don't immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards.

Any further rules "will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits," Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.

Once finalized, the agency could propose more restrictions on e-cigarettes. Officials didn't provide a timetable for that action.

Members of Congress and public health groups have raised concerns over e-cigarettes and questioned their marketing tactics.

"When finalized (the proposal) would result in significant public health benefits, including through reducing sales to youth, helping to correct consumer misperceptions, preventing misleading health claims and preventing new products from entering the market without scientific review by FDA," said Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

The FDA said the public, members of the industry and others will have 75 days to comment on the proposal. The agency will evaluate those comments before issuing a final rule but there's no timetable for when that will happen. The regulations will be a step in a long process that many believe will ultimately end up being challenged in court.

E-cigarettes are plastic or metal tubes, usually the size of a cigarette, that heat a liquid nicotine solution instead of burning tobacco. That creates vapor that users inhale.

Smokers like e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor looks like smoke but doesn't contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some smokers use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco, or to cut down. However, there's not much scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes help smokers quit or smoke less, and it's unclear how safe they are.

The industry started on the Internet and at shopping-mall kiosks and has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide who can choose from more than 200 brands. Sales are estimated to have reached nearly $2 billion in 2013. Tobacco company executives have noted that they are eating into traditional cigarette sales, and their companies have jumped into the business.

Some believe lightly regulating electronic cigarettes might actually be better for public health overall, if smokers switch and e-cigarettes really are safer. Others are raising alarms about the hazards of the products and a litany of questions about whether e-cigarettes will keep smokers addicted or encourage others to start using e-cigarettes, and even eventually tobacco products.

"Right now for something like e-cigarettes, there are far more questions than answers," Zeller said, adding that the agency is conducting research to better understand the safety of the devices and who is using them.

In addition to prohibiting sales to minors and requiring health labels that warn users that nicotine is an addictive chemical, e-cigarette makers also would be required to register their products with the agency and disclose ingredients. They also would not be allowed to claim their products are safer than other tobacco products.

They also couldn't use words such as "light" or "mild" to describe their products, give out free samples or sell their products in vending machines unless they are in a place open only to adults, such as a bar.

Companies also will be required to submit applications for premarket review within two years. As long as an e-cigarette maker has submitted the application, the FDA said it will allow the products to stay on the market while they are being reviewed. That would mean companies would have to submit an application for all e-cigarettes now being sold.

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cf4113 April 24 2014 at 8:34 PM

Is this country a mess or what!!!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
jdm61cc April 24 2014 at 2:30 PM

Please take note, potheads. All of tour whining about marijuana being less dangerous than tobacco does not mater. This is what is going to happen to your drug of choice once it becomes legal. Death by a thousand cuts. with more taxes to boot.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Ride jdm61cc April 24 2014 at 3:44 PM

Whatever dude..pots be on this planet thousands of years,,and will be here long after your gone,I will grow my own and enjoy fuk the Gov.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
azeka3 jdm61cc April 24 2014 at 3:45 PM

And don't forget the brain. It will be like an egg in a frying pan .

Flag Reply +1 rate up
wayne April 24 2014 at 10:20 AM

Soda makes you fat and causes diabetes. Kids love it too. LET's Ban it too.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
wayne April 24 2014 at 10:23 AM

Cheese burgers and Pizza clog your arteries. Wait kids love that too. Why do we not ban that too?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tomra1212 April 24 2014 at 10:23 AM

Pot is banded under federal law where are the feds with m16
Stealing cattle

Flag Reply +1 rate up
halversjohn April 24 2014 at 10:24 AM

it is all about the tax money they are losing from people switching off tobacco.all this is a setup to screw americans out of more money.follow the money.you will see.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
wayne April 24 2014 at 10:25 AM

Be careful people , you might be next. If they do not like what you have done . They might ban you too !!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Steve April 24 2014 at 2:11 PM

Whatever it is, good for us, bad for us, as long as it is out there in the marketplace, the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT must make sure that IT is in control, and regualtes the products and/or the services, and tax THEM in order to justify ITSELF, adding our money to ITS coffers. IT will oprobabkly have to create a whole new department to oversee this idea, hiring more GOVERNMENT WORKERS in ourder to justify the taking of more of our money. -- OK. I'm done, and probably on a WATCH LIST if I wasn't on one to start with.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
pugnose378 April 24 2014 at 1:16 PM

How to solve anything ...... let's just tax them!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
mclkarim pugnose378 April 24 2014 at 1:22 PM

Say what? They are already taxed to the hilt.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
City of Huntingt April 24 2014 at 1:14 PM

I had been a smoker for 30 years. I used an e-cig to help me quit smoking . I haven't lit a cigarette since February 1st 2014. I started with 18 mg e-liquid and am now down to 8 mg. I agree we need to keep them out of the hands of minors, But they do work to help people quit smoking. My Doctor was glad to hear I gave up cigarettes and is perfectly fine with the use of e-cigs.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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