The announcement was made on the 24th of April that the FDA would begin regulating the billion-dollar industry of e-cigarettes for the very first time. The FDA has stated that it plans to bar minors from buying the product, and it also plans to ban free samples from being passed out to consumers. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association opposes the FDA’s plan to regulate the industry under tobacco laws. In an article by NY Daily News, the trade group states that “They are technology products, not tobacco products.”
While many are grateful that e-cigarettes offer the opportunity to quit smoking, some are concerned about the effects they will have on the very impressionable younger generations. According to an article by Huff Post Business, “Health advocates say there’s still plenty of room to tacitly market the products to kids — a standard Big Tobacco strategy — and also as a complement or introduction to smoking.”
E-cigarettes are offered in numerous kid-friendly flavors. Even though the sale of this product is banned if the consumer is under the age of 18, it makes it very simple for an e-cig to fall into the hands of a minor due to the continued Internet sales and TV ads that are still permitted. So far, The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association is on board with the ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. In fact, the attitude thus far from some of the leaders in the industry seems to be gratitude towards the FDA for finally drawing up a set of rules to regulate e-cigarettes.
In an article by Huff Post Business, Ray Story, the CEO, and founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA) is quoted stating the following view concerning the new rules, “We applaud the FDA for finally coming out with these proposed rules.” It would seem that the FDA has taken more than four years to propose regulations.
At present, the 241 pages of regulations are open for public comment for 75 days. After which, the FDA will take some more time to begin implementing them. At the present, The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association is still battling the implementation of the industry under tobacco laws. According to Huff Post Business, “In 2009, Congress extended the FDA’s powers to regulate e-cigarettes as part of a tobacco control law that included other products like nicotine gels or water pipes.
Meanwhile, health advocates continue to be concerned about the access minors have to e-cigarettes. They fear that the image the industry paints through advertising is making it the “thing to do”. And with the question still very much up in the air about the health effects of e-cigarettes, there are still concerns for both the young and the old. According to Huff Post Business, “It’s clear that if smokers used e-cigarettes instead of real ones, they’d be healthier. Still, the Centers of Disease Control found earlier this month that calls related to e-cigarettes made to poison control centers jumped sharply between 2010 and 2014 as the products have increased in popularity.”
For now, the battle continues for the FDA to establish regulations that promote safety while the industry fights for laws that are seen by them as being reasonable. But the question still remains as to how this booming industry will affect the welfare of young, impressionable kids, and will there be long-term negative health effects on the consumer?
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