FDA Seeks to Regulate E-Cigarettes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to extend its authority on tobacco products to e-cigarettes. There is a growing concern the products have reached children and teens, especially because many of the products have sweet flavoring.
Possible Dangers of E-Cigarettes
The FDA states that E-cigarettes have not been fully studied, but the New York Times states that “e-liquids” such as the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes are neurotoxins extracted from tobacco and flavored. Even tiny amounts absorbed by the skin or ingested can lead to vomiting, seizures, and may be lethal – especially to children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently discovered in a report that there has been an increase in the use of e-cigarettes in recent years by the youth.
The FDA’s Proposal
At a Congressional budget hearing, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told senators that she expected the proposal to be ready for release soon, but the exact date is unclear. It is currently being examined by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB.)
Senator Jeff Merkley told Hamburg that the agency's delays were “disgraceful,” and that “Four years and four months to get the first draft over to OMB is unacceptable,” he said.
Currently, the FDA regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. This proposed measure would extend the FDA’s reach to e-cigarettes.
According to FOX News, E-cigarette companies believe they should be exempt from the full spectrum of regulations, saying the regulations would stifle innovation, damage small business and hurt consumers trying to quit smoking.
Hamburg also addressed the increase in liquid nicotine poisonings, which can also be inhaled as a vapor. The CDC also revealed that the number of poison cases involving e-cigarette liquids rose from 1 per month (September 2010) to 215 per month (February 2014.) There was not a rise in conventional cigarette use.