A majority of Americans believe that electronic cigarettes should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the same way the agency regulates tobacco-containing cigarettes.
In fact, according to a recent poll, 57% of people surveyed said the FDA should regulate e-cigarettes. The percentage of people in favor of federal regulation rose with age and education. Nearly 66% of people with higher education degrees supported federal regulation compared with 48% of those with high school diplomas or less.
Vapor retail sales are on track to reach $3.5 billion this year. Moreover, the industry is expected to expand to $10 billion by 2018. Despite the exponential increase in numbers of people using e-cigarettes, the FDA has lagged behind in enacting regulations of the industry – until recently.
In the spring of 2014, the FDA did propose regulations for e-cigarettes. Since that time, the agency has collected thousands of comments on the proposals.
On October 19th of this year, the agency then sent its proposed e-cigarette regulations to the White House for a required review. As of now, the Office of Management and Budget has yet to review the major regulations, which is required before they can go into effect.
Some of the key provisions of the proposal include a requirement that such products display warnings that they contain nicotine and the disclosure of ingredients by manufacturers. The regulations also include a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Now to wait for the White House to sign off on the final version.
The push to protect minors is in part due to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) new policy statement which calls on the FDA to expand its jurisdiction to include e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine and all other tobacco products. The AAP has also recommended that lawmakers craft legislation that requires the immediate action to make liquid nicotine containers child-resistant. That legislation is currently under consideration in both chambers of Congress.
In describing the current state of the industry, Dr. Michael Taylor, chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics states that, “Electronic cigarettes have exploded in popularity in just a few short years, but we still know very little about the health risks associated with the technology. With our data showing a 50 percent adoption rate among those who have tried e-cigarettes, it’s reasonable to expect that usage will continue to grow, even as traditional cigarette smoking declines. This is clearly an area that will require a great deal more research.”