The Food and Drug Administration will begin regulating e-cigarettes, responding to the industry’s boom and health concerns about alternate nicotine products.
The FDA’s first move into other smoking products are partly in response to e-cigarettes’ recent success, which reportedly draw in $2 billion a year. Cigars, pipe tobacco, and hookah will also be regulated.
The agency proposed an immediate ban on e-cigarettes sales to children. The FDA is also requiring companies disclose what’s in the products, as well as prove scientifically the makers’ claim that vaporized nicotine—the kind delivered through an e-cigarette—is actually better for you than regular old cigarettes. Current products on the market would have to undergo FDA approval over the next two years.
"They would have to report to us the constituents of their products and also how they are making them," FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.
Unlike cigarettes, however, the FDA isn’t looking to limit advertising the products on-air or online, something they did to tackle cigarette’s ‘Hollywood’ appeal years ago, nor are they banning flavored cigarettes, which critics say attract young people.
The FDA has the ability to regulate these products thanks to a 2009 law, which gave the agency power to regulate tobacco-related products beyond cigarettes.
“In the absence of any meaningful regulation, the e-cigarette manufacturers have acted as if it’s the wild, wild West, with no rules and no restraints,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told the Washington Post. “Their advertising is exactly the same type of advertising that made cigarettes so appealing to young people” decades ago.