FDA urges stronger regulations on e-cigarettes
The FDA recently released their proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes. While electronic cigarettes claim to contain no tobacco, the FDA has issued a proposed rule that would extend the agency’s tobacco authority to cover additional products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes.
“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” said a Health and Human Services representative, in a statement.
The proposed rules include banning the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18-years-old and a requirement for buyers to provide photo identification for purchases. Vending machine sales of e-cigarettes will be prohibited unless in a venue closed to anyone younger than 18, and e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to include health warnings on labels.
According to the FDA, electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn chemicals, including highly addictive nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.
The FDA also argues that e-cigarettes are referred to as a tobacco product as the nicotine is derived from tobacco.
“Nicotine is an addictive agent,” says Dr. Michael Ward, a family medicine and sports medicine physician on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “While we may be using e-cigarettes to wean adults off of the traditional tobacco cigarette, we are also finding youth beginning to use e-cigarettes and beginning the addictive process.”
E-cigarettes entered the market outside the scope of normal regulatory channels. Marketing of these products has not been banned as we have seen with the traditional tobacco product. Moving forward, e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to register with the FDA and provide a list of products and ingredients. The manufacturers can only make direct or implied claims of reduced risk if the FDA confirms that scientific evidence supports the claim and that marketing the product will benefit public health as a whole.
“Because e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, we do not know the risk,” Dr. Ward says.
Dr. Ward advises everyone to quit smoking no matter what the product may be.
The proposed rule will be available for public comment until July 9, 2014. Comments can be made here.
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