How Should the FDA Regulate E-Cigarettes?

FDA-E-Cigarette-Standards-and-Nicotine-PolicyJune 19, 2014 marked the fifth anniversary of the landmark 2009 law (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act) granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products.

The Coalition commends the FDA for the steps it has taken to reduce tobacco use and applauds the agency’s efforts to extend its regulatory authority over e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. It’s an important first step, but we believe the FDA can and should do more to regulate how and to whom e-cigarettes are marketed.

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The Jury Has Made a Decision on E-cigarettes

In New York City Council chambers, a e-smoker waits to hear if legislation will pass that will prohibit smoking e-cigarettes at workplaces and indoor public places, such as City Hall.

In New York City Council chambers, a e-smoker waits to hear if legislation will pass that will prohibit smoking e-cigarettes at workplaces and indoor public places, such as City Hall.

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation to include electronic cigarettes in the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Unlike nicotine gum and skin patches, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have not yet been evaluated by the FDA for safety or effectiveness and are currently unregulated.  Some studies show that e-cigarettes emit vapor that holds toxic chemicals.

A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in one year, from 2011 to 2012, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than doubled from 4.7% to 10.0%.  I am concerned that this unregulated product will serve as a nicotine starter kit for youth. Some studies suggest that e-cigarettes are a “gateway” to smoking traditional tobacco products.

While the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City is awaiting further information from the FDA, one thing is perfectly clear: New York children and teenagers should not be exposed to any products that may encourage addiction.

Local and state governments across the country are adding e-cigarettes to their Smoke-Free Air Acts. I commend the New York City Council for taking action that prevents the normalization of smoking of any kind for our young people.