New Federal Regulations for E-Cigarettes Cause Controversy
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2016 by Lisa Benedetti
The Food and Drug Administration has recently issued its first regulation on e-cigarettes. Previously subject to almost no oversight, the sale of e-cigarettes will soon be banned to anyone under the age of 18. Manufacturers of the product will now be required to disclose ingredients and submit their products for government approval.
E-cigarettes have become widely popular as a replacement for traditional cigarettes. The battery-powered devices come in a variety of different flavors and are especially favored by middle and high schoolers. According to the FDA, in 2015, 3 million middle-and high-school students reported using e-cigarettes.
While some argue that the FDA has not gone far enough in terms of regulation, experts warn that requiring FDA approval may hurt those consumers who use the product in their efforts to quit smoking.
Industry officials reacted angrily to many of the rules, warning that requiring pre-market approval could decimate the many small businesses that produce e-cigarettes and could ultimately deprive consumers of what they say is a less harmful alternative to conventional cigarettes.
Public health experts largely welcomed the rules, saying they were long overdue. Some said the FDA should have gone much further, banning the use of e-cigarette flavors and placing curbs on advertising.
“FDA passed up critical opportunities in this rule by failing to prohibit the sale of tobacco products coming in flavors like cotton candy,” said Benard Dreyer, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But despite the landmark nature of the effort, the FDA action is unlikely to settle an intensifying debate over whether e-cigarettes are a gateway to traditional tar-laden, chemical-filled cigarettes or an effective way to help the long-addicted quit smoking.
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