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E-Cigarette Trade Group Urge Congress Not to Classify Devices as Tobacco Products

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A trade group representing the e-cigarette industry will be traveling to Washington on November 4 to urge Congress not to classify the devices as tobacco products, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association says e-cigarettes should not be “grouped with combustible cigarettes as federal guidelines are developed for these products. Excessive regulation could limit adult access to e-cigs and stifle growth and innovation in the segment,” said Cynthia Cabrera, the trade group’s executive director.

Last month, the attorneys general of 41 states asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue regulations for e-cigarettes by the end of October. They said they want to ensure e-cigarette companies do not continue to sell or advertise to minors.

In a letter to the FDA, the attorneys general said sales of e-cigarettes have doubled every year since 2008. They are projected to reach $1.7 billion this year. The cost has decreased, making them more appealing to young people. Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that prevent children from buying e-cigarettes, and there are no advertising restrictions, the letter states.

“Consumers are led to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes, despite the fact that they are addictive, and there is no regulatory oversight ensuring the safety of the ingredients in e-cigarettes,” they wrote.

The FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco, but not e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco or cigars. Under a 2009 law, the FDA can expand its authority over all tobacco products, but it must first issue new regulations.

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