Monday, July 8, 2013

Tobacco regulators mull more oversight as e-cigarettes see increased popularity

The Star-Ledger
Stacy Jones
July 8, 2013

New Jersey--"Right now we regulate cigarettes, loose tobacco and smokeless tobacco, but the law does give us a process for adding more products to our jurisdiction," said FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Haliski. "The FDA has publicly said that we intend to make every product that meets the statutory definition of a tobacco product of our authority."

For now, that means the e-cigarette industry has to avoid so much as hinting it is a smoking cessation device. The FDA currently regulates nicotine replacement therapies, known as NTRs, such as gum, patches and lozenges.

E-cigarette consumers feel they have a stake in this, too, said Greg Conley, legislative director at the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, an advocacy group for e-cigarette users, because many would be reluctant to go back to smoking cigarettes.

"Any rule that the FDA comes up with should not make e-cigarettes harder to get and not apply the same approval process to e-cigarettes as regular cigarettes," he said. "We are hopeful at this time that the FDA will not institute a rule that would essentially ban all these products that have been introduced since 2007."

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