FDA Wants E-Cigarette Oversight

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E-cigarettes could get the same government oversight as traditional cigarettes after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced Thursday it wants to extend its authority over them and a variety of other tobacco products.

The new rule wold widen the FDA’s regulations to cover products that are currently unregulated. The rule would include electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, hookah tobacco, and dissovlables.

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The FDA proposal comes at a time when e-cigarette sales are exploding in Memphis, as we reported in March. Stores specializing in the products have sprung up all over the area. If it passed, the new rule would certainly have an impact on them.

The FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.

“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Products that would fall under the new rule would have to:
• Register with the FDA
• Report ingredients
• Market new tobacco products only after FDA review
• Make product claims only with FDA approval
• Not be available for free samples
• Meet identification restrictions to prevent underage sales
• Require health warnings
• Not be available in vending machines where minors are present

“Tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in this country. This is an important moment for consumer protection and a significant proposal that if finalized as written would bring FDA oversight to many new tobacco products,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg. “Science-based product regulation is a powerful form of consumer protection that can help reduce the public health burden of tobacco use on the American public, including youth.”

Public comment will be open on the new rule for 75 days after the rule is formally released Friday. Read the proposed rule here: FDA_new_tobacco_rules.pdf

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