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E-Cigarettes under Landmark FDA Regulation Move

May 9, 2016

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, after years of debate, managed to extend federal authority to e-cigarettes, banning their sale to anyone under 18 and requiring adults under 26 years-of-age to show photo identification to purchase these products. The rules will take effect in 90 days requiring producers to register with the FDA, plus providing a detailed account of their products' ingredients and manufacturing processes. Cigars, hookah and pipe tobacco are included in the new regulations, The New York Times reports.

Public health experts applauded what they felt to be an overdue move to federal regulation, while many e-cigarette companies are furious with the ruling. They argue that smaller producers may not be able to afford the time and lawyers needed to complete the FDA application process and would be crushed, while big tobacco companies might be bolstered by the move, according to the Times.

Electronic, or e-cigarettes, were introduced about ten years ago and have grown into a multibillion-dollar business with nine million American adults using them. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable liquid vapor. Some smokers use them and prefer "vaping" as the devices, although containing nicotine, lack the cancer-causing harmful chemicals and tar that burning tobacco has, reports WCVB News.

The argument that vape shops may go out of business, giving the multinational tobacco companies less competition, is a concern voiced by Gary A. Giovino, a professor of health behavior at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Health experts in Britain concluded e-cigarettes have been effective in helping people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, while American experts have been more cautious citing the need for long-term monitoring.

There are more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths every year in the United States, with smoking being the largest cause of preventable death. Forty million American adults smoke, reports the Times.

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