Restrictions on E Cigarettes
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing for alterations to US law so that the same age restrictions apply for e-cigarettes in the US as for conventional cigarettes. This is due to uncertainties over the health effects of e-cigarettes and the rapid take-up of the devices. The FDA also wants to limit vending machine sales of e-cigarettes. The agency’s view is that “The tobacco product marketplace is evolving at a dizzying pace with many unanswered questions about the health effects of novel products.”
The new rules would also extend current US law to cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, hookah pipe tobacco, and “dissolvables not already under the FDA’s authority”. No timetable has been given for the proposed changes to the law.
Use of e-cigarettes has expanded from thousands of people in 2006 to several million worldwide, with estimated sales of almost $2bn in 2013. E-cigarettes are plastic or metal tubes that use an electrical coil to heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating a vapour that users inhale. The FDA is conducting research into the health effects of e-cigarettes, and who uses them, according to Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “Right now for something like e-cigarettes, there are far more questions than answers,” he said.
Under the proposed new rules, e-cigarette makers would be required to register their products with the agency and to disclose ingredients. They also would not be allowed to claim their products are safer than other tobacco products.
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “There has been a huge surge in the popularity and use of e-cigarettes in recent years as more and more people use them in an effort to stop smoking conventional cigarettes. However, there are still doubts as to whether there are going to be any long term health issues and this may be one to watch in the future from a legal perspective in the UK too.”
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