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FDA proposes e-cigarette regulations

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 24 2014 05:06:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 06:01:06 PM CDT

E-cigarettes typically use liquid nicotine.

E-cigarettes typically use liquid nicotine.

When heated, the drug becomes a vapor so it can be inhaled.

For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to regulate the industry.

"The FDA is really in this instance acting in the best interest of the population," explained Dr. Joseph Schellenberg, Associate Chief of Pulmonary Medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

He says he's in favor of the proposed rules.

"It's a new, relatively new technology, it is not well evaluated for long term safety."

The FDA wants to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and through vending machines, and require health warning labels.

Also, all new products would need FDA review, and manufacturers would be required to register all products and ingredients.

"If you're saying that this is going to be accessible to a large portion of the population in a legalized fashion you should have some degree of quality control to make sure that at least it's not going to harm them," Dr. Schellenberg added.

Because e-cigarettes have not been fully studied it's not clear how much nicotine or other chemicals are being inhaled. And little is known about the long term effects to users and those around them.

Health experts are also worried about the spike of high school students who now report using e-cigarettes.

"The concern is that by using nicotine you are creating another nicotine addicted person who will then turn to other tobacco products over time," shared Dr. Schellenberg. "So we don't necessarily think that these are safe."

The recommended regulations will now go through a 75-day public comment period.

If approved, manufacturers will have two years to apply to keep their product on the market.