The Future for E-Cigs

Puff where no one else can!

E-cig supporters see the FDA move to classify them as drug delivery devices as a first step in banning them on a national level. The agency had used its classification to block several shipments of e-cigs from China, prompting manufacturers to sue. In January 2010, a federal judge ruled that e-cigs are not drugs, but tobacco products, and therefore not subject to FDA jurisdiction. He called the FDA's actions a "tenacious drive to maximize its regulatory power."

The FDA countered by citing manufacturer's claims that e-cigarettes "alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms," making them comparable to nicotine patches and gum, which the FDA does have the authority to regulate. While the FDA appeals the decision, many states are taking the matter into their own hands.

New Jersey's State Assembly has banned the sale of e-cigs to anyone under 19, and prohibits adults from smoking them at work or in public. New York, Oregon, and New Hampshire have already passed laws banning or restricting sales of e-cigs and e-liquid, and many other states have proposed similar legislation.

Overseas, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Panama, and Singapore have all completely banned e-cigarettes. Denmark and New Zealand allow them to be sold only as a regulated medicine.

The same lack of evidence that prevents the American Lung Association and others from endorsing e-cigarettes as an anti-smoking aid is also preventing some politicians from supporting outright bans. Illinois State Senator Dave Syverson voted against that state's proposed ban, asking, "What right do we have to say a person can't market or have a product that has not been proven to be a problem?" And although the California State Senate passed a bill banning e-cigs in October 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it saying, "If adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so unless and until federal law changes the legal status of these tobacco products."

While some proposed regulation meets similar resistance, legislators find little opposition to efforts to ban e-cig's sale to children. A hidden camera operation in Phoenix, Arizona, caught a mall kiosk salesman selling the device to children. While not illegal at the time, the report helped ensure the passage of Arizona House Bill 2203, which adds electronic cigarettes to the list of tobacco-related products that are illegal to sell to minors.

With the topic buzzing from chat rooms to state capitols, and no sign of clinical trials on the horizon, it'll be a while until the smoke clears in the debate surrounding electronic cigarettes.



Ecig on a Green Background