Health experts anxious to see fda rules on e-cigarettes — nbc news

One big challenge for both the FDA and health experts E cigarettes are fairly new. The little metal or plastic tubes that look like cigarettes have been around in some form since 1963, but only became popular within the past decade. Now more than 250 brands have proliferated, and enthusiasts call their habit vaping.

They heat up a mixture of water, nicotine and propylene glycol mixed with other flavors and chemicals. Right now, e cigarette makers don t have to say what s in them. All the experts NBC News spoke with want the FDA to force makers to disclose ingredients at the very least.

They also want FDA to ban sales to anyone under 18 and to limit or ban ads especially ads that seem geared to children and teenagers. Any more than that is unlikely, says Gregg Haifley, federal relations director for the American Cancer Society s lobbying arm, the ACS Cancer Action Network.

We are faced with this initial hurdle of FDA asserting its authority over these products. It is going to be a long and cumbersome process, Haifley said.

FDA did try once before, saying e cigarettes were medical devices. But the tobacco companies challenged this and won in federal appeals courts, which said they should be regulated as tobacco products. And FDA launched its first anti smoking campaign earlier this year, with graphic images targeting teens. The agency took a tentative first regulatory action against a tobacco product in February, ordering a company to stop selling cigarette like products called bidis.

While FDA scrambled to build a whole tobacco regulation division, vaping took off big time, with sales hitting an estimated $2 billion in 2013. An e cigarette product ranges from $10 to $120, depending on how many charges it provides.

«Every day that tobacco products go without regulation, more people become addicted and suffer the consequences associated with those products.»

Every day that tobacco products go without regulation, more people become addicted and suffer the consequences associated with those products, Haifley said. We are grateful that it is finally happening.

Some studies have suggested that e cigarettes could help people quit smoking regular cigarettes.

The jury is out on that, says Dr. Thomas Glynn, director for cancer science at the American Cancer Society. Some studies suggest they are about as effective as a nicotine patch. Other studies suggest they are not helpful at all.

Dr. Neil Schluger, Chief Scientific Officer at World Lung Foundation, says if the makers really thought their products were aids to quitting, they d market them that way.

They could have gone to FDA and said we have a terrific tobacco cessation device, Schluger said. Instead, they sued the FDA. I don t think tobacco companies deserve the benefit of the doubt, he added. All they are really selling is nicotine addiction.

Schluger sees vaping as little more than a new way to keep people using tobacco. The e cigarettes could be the greatest thing to get you through the day if you work somewhere like New York City where cigarettes are heavily restricted,» he said. In fact, he said, vaping could kill any motivation to quit smoking.

Ellen Vargyas, legal counsel to the anti tobacco group Legacy, agrees. People are using these e cigarettes when they cannot otherwise smoke, she said.

And there are other dangers. There is, literally, nicotine juice sloshing around in peoples homes, she said. Federal health officials said earlier this month that calls to U.S. poison control centers about people sickened by e cigarettes containing liquid nicotine have soared in the past four years, climbing from just one a month in 2010 to at least 215 per month. This is real toxic stuff, Vargyas said.

Cigarettes and valentines — wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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