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Government Shutdown Delayed FDA Ruling on E-Cigarettes


The government shutdown in late September and early October likely delayed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ruling on e-cigarette regulation, according to Consumer Reports.

The FDA was expected to propose rules on regulating e-cigarettes by October, but the agency has yet to do so. The agency did send a proposed rule in mid-October to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which will review the rule before it is available for public comment.

The FDA is expected to consider e-cigarettes as tobacco products, which will allow the agency to provide the same federal oversight that applies to cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigarette tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco. E-cigarettes could be subjected to the same requirements for disclosure of ingredients, manufacturing quality and restrictions on sales to minors that apply to regular cigarettes.

It is not clear whether the FDA will restrict e-cigarette flavors, such as bubblegum and watermelon, which appeal to children. It is also not known whether the agency will restrict online sales of e-cigarettes and advertising of the products, and whether it will make a recommendation on whether they should be banned indoors.

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular. Sales in the United States are projected to reach $1.5 billion this year, triple last year’s sales.

A number of states are making their own decisions about regulating e-cigarettes, as they await the FDA rules about the devices. Four states have included e-cigarettes in indoor smoking bans, and more are considering following suit. States are weighing questions including who should be able to use e-cigarettes, how they should be taxed, whether they should be subject to indoor smoking bans and whether they are tobacco products.

Utah, North Dakota, Arkansas and New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia, already include e-cigarettes in indoor smoking bans. California, Connecticut and Massachusetts are considering similar legislation.

7 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Carrie Blanc
    Carrie Blanc / December 19, 2013 at 3:18 am

    The electronic cigarettes are considered healthy to use by many smokers because these contain the e-juice. The e-juice is not just any typical liquid; in fact, the e-juice comes with an interesting flavor that is identical to the actual things.

  2. Fr. Jack Kearney / December 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Because they are saving millions of lives, electronic cigarettes regulations should be limited to e-liquid purity, battery safety, and the banning of sales to minors. They are successful products when people get to choose their own flavors (I like watermelon too!) and nicotine levels. Doing anything else will harm smokers who want to quit and achieve the exact opposite of what we need, and ultimately serve to help only the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. Great.

  3. Avatar of Rachael
    Rachael / December 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Using E-Cigarettes ultimately helps the “big tobacco” industry. They are systematically taking over the market. Currently, there are no regulations for the marketing, manufacturing, or distributing of E-cigs – considering we don’t actually know anything about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, a bit of regulation is not a bad thing. I certainly don’t want the tobacco firms being the ones to determine how or where e-cigarettes are advertised or distributed.

  4. Avatar of James Page
    James Page / December 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    That’s a completely unsubstantiated claim, there is no evidence of E-cigarettes aiding or encouraging smokers to quit. The evidence shows that E-cigerettes are in fact encouraging younger individuals to take up nicotine use, which innevitably proliferates nicotine use and exposure. If you want to see the effects of E-cigerettes on community’s, look in Europe, they have been dealing with these products for much longer than the USA. They are imposing bans and actually creating regulations to discourage use, because of the reasons listed above and than some. Chewing tabacco, Snuff etc do not reduce nicotine dependence, neither do Watermelon flavored nicotined vapor delivery systems. Ignorance is not bliss

  5. Avatar of Ed Hall
    Ed Hall / May 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    You got it spot on. At this moment there is no clear reason not to use an e-cigarette as a way to quit or even as an alternative. Because of the nature of them we don’t yet know the real long term effects, but if they’re helping people quit and feel better for it, then we should encourage them!

  6. Avatar of E-Cig Smoker
    E-Cig Smoker / December 5, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    That is not wholly true. E-Cigs, at least those containing nicotine, are partially regulated now, at least by some states. Because they contain nicotine, some e-cigarettes can not be sold to minors and are treated the same as regular cigarettes.

  7. Shaun M / December 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Nicotine dependence and quitting smoking (yes, that is smoking) are two completely distinct and different issues. I use an electronic cigarette, and yes, it did help me quit smoking. I won’t argue that it reduces nicotine dependence, as it doesn’t. No one says it does. What it does do is help people quit smoking… which is just a difference in delivery system. Smoking is what causes most of the negative effects, which is why vaping is considered to be a healthier alternative. Hmm… smoke vs vapor… which would you prefer?

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