by Melinda Carstensen, Patch editor
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would propose new regulations on electronic cigarettes, including a ban on the use of the devices by anyone under the age of 18.
The rules would require e-cigarette producers to place warning labels on their products and to disclose their ingredients, manufacturing processes and other data. The proposed regulations also would apply to cigars, pipe tobacco and nicotine gel.
E-cigarettes are used by nearly 4 million Americans, including many young people. The devices are usually battery-operated and mimic regular cigarettes by vaporizing a nicotine-laced liquid that users inhale.
While advocates say e-cigarettes are safe, public health officials aren’t sure of their long-term effects. There also is concern because e-cigarette producers can market however they want to whomever they want — including kids. Child health advocates argue e-cigarette producers target kids by offering colorful varieties in fruity flavors.
Although half of U.S. states have prohibited selling to minors, the FDA’s proposed regulations are the first proposed at the federal level.
For a list of states that have imposed regulations on e-cigarettes, visit the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
Tell us: How do you feel about the FDA’s proposal? Should e-cigarettes be regulated like regular cigarettes, or are they different? And do you think e-cigarette producers should be regulated in the name of children’s safety and/or public health?