The Food and Drug Administration’s July 8 deadline for releasing new e-cigarette regulations has just gone up in smoke.
On Friday, June 20, the agency announced that the public comment period initially ending July 9 has been extended to August 8 to allow more people to weigh in on proposed regulations, including many laws that currently only apply to traditional cigarettes.
Although e-cigarettes, or e-cigs, have only been in the international market since roughly 2005, they have rapidly surpassed other tobacco alternatives in popularity because of their physical and experiential similarity to regular cigarettes. With e-cigs enjoying over 3.5 million users – sometimes called “vapers” – regulation committees have been scrambling to formulate production, disclosure, and advertising laws, including the FDA. Some of the proposed guidelines include banning sales to children under 18, and adding warning labels to all packaging. Industry concerns over banning online or eCommerce sales seem to still be off the table as there is no mention of controlling internet sales as far as we can see in the proposed rules.
As expected, there is great disagreement on what the FDA should do next
At points, the e-cigarette debate has been as opaque as their vapor, due to relatively few conclusive studies about their potential benefits and risks. While many claim and some evidence suggests that they can help users of traditional cigarettes stop smoking, others argue that their efficacy is unproven. However, with vapor containing markedly fewer chemicals, no tar, and little to no odor compared to cigarette smoke, many see them as a safer alternative to tobacco, both for the user and for those around them. While only anecdotal it does seem as though many of our eCommerce vaping merchants originally got into the business because they themselves used vaping as an alternative to what they felt was the far more dangerous habit traditional smoking.
Click here to read the full story on the FDA’s decision.