Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are described as “battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals … into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.”
Sales of these devices are reported to be approaching $2 billion this year and more companies are jumping into the market with Altria, which owns Phillip Morris, and R.J. Reynolds launching their own brands.
One of the concerns is that the devices are being marketed to children as stated in a recent interview with Melissa Block.
“Remember, cigarette ads on TV have been banned for more than 40 years, but in the absence of regulation, the e-cigarette market is a free-for-all. In half the states, children can legally buy them. They’ll find flavors that include cotton candy, tutti-frutti, gummy bear and cherry crush.”
The Food and Drug Administration was expected to release proposed regulations by October 31st, but so far the wait continues. The federal shutdown certainly could have impacted the timing, so they should not yet be ruled out.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that an estimated 1.78 million middle and high schools students have used e-cigarettes. It also found that 76 percent of the students using e-cigarettes said they also smoked conventional cigarettes.
The FDA’s proposed rules have been have been in the works for a while and would still go through a public comment period before becoming final and having any authority. Erika Sward, vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association says, “We’ve been waiting for this for two and a half years. We need FDA to assert that jurisdiction and move forward with their work.“