Looking at the current regulations on e-cigs in the US, it appears that more-and-more states are putting in place stringent measures that are aimed at curbing vaping in public. When it was introduced into the market, electronic cigarettes were seen as a safer and healthier option compared to the traditional tobacco cigarettes. This was because the amount of nicotine could be controlled, there was no production of tar, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals, and the e-cigs could be used as smoking aids.
Unfortunately, there has been a growing concern about the safety of electronic cigarettes. Yes, they seem to be much safer than the normal cigarette, but, is this opinion true? Due to lack of sufficient evidence that shows vape pens are much safer, critics to the electronic cigarette have been calling for the regulation on the cigarettes. The opponents argue that the e-juice that produces the vapor also contains the same chemicals (nicotine, carcinogens, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and many others) found in tobacco cigarettes. This makes e-cigs equally harmful.
Considering that there is no adequate proof that e-cigs are less harmful than tobacco, or that they can help a person cease smoking, many states have already placed regulations that are aimed at controlling the use. Many states want electronic cigarettes categorized in the same class as the normal cigarettes. They should therefore not be smoked in public, advertisement targeting younger people should be banned, and the flavors should be scrutinized before being allowed into the market. States such as Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles have already implemented bans on smoking e-cigs indoors.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been under pressure to regulate e-cigs. Guided by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and Tobacco Control Act, the regulatory authority regulates tobacco products and related activities. In September 2009, the FDA undertook a study to verify the effects e-cigs had on health. Based on its finding, the regulator decided to ban the importation of e-cigs stating that e-cigs were unregulated medical devices. In December 2010 however, the federal courts of appeal made a decision that the FDA had no mandate to regulate electronic cigarettes since they didn’t fall under the tobacco products that are regulated by the FDA.
Following the ruling by the federal court of appeal, The FDA embarked on drafting new regulations so as to control the use of electronic cigarettes. The proposals were to take effect one year ago but have never seen the light of day. The regulatory authority is optimistic that the proposals will become reality this year. The regular has expanded the description of tobacco products to include dissolvables, hookah tobacco, gels, electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and cigars. The FDA has also included a clause that allows it to also regulate products that might be invented in the future.
A look at the proposed regulations reveals that the FDA wants to be involved in the processes of registration and approval. The manufacturers are required to give details of the entire manufacturing process, the ingredients, and verifiable scientific data. Also, the FDA wants to be given powers to inspect the manufacturing facilities. If the current regulations on e-cigs in USA become reality, the sector will face many new challenges.