Regulations needed for e-cigarettes

Posted on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 12:20 am

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has waded gently into the debate about e-cigarettes.

Rules proposed last week by the agency would prohibit sales to anyone under the age of 18, add warning labels about the addictive nature of nicotine, and require approval by the FDA of new products.

The FDA says that’s as far as it wants to go with regulations until more is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has waded gently into the debate about e-cigarettes.

Rules proposed last week by the agency would prohibit sales to anyone under the age of 18, add warning labels about the addictive nature of nicotine, and require approval by the FDA of new products.

The FDA says that’s as far as it wants to go with regulations until more is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes.

The unknown is whether e-cigarettes, instead of helping people quit smoking, are actually a gateway to the real thing for previous non-smokers. Once hooked on nicotine, do users gravitate to paper and tobacco as their preferred method for satisfying their fix?

That’s why the ban on sales to minors is necessary, and long overdue.

Because there’s no ash and no odor with an e-cigarette, it makes it easier to get high and not be detected — both by teenagers at home and adults in the workplace.

Eventually, the science will catch up with e-cigarettes and more will be learned about their health risks. When it does, expect more government regulations to follow. The worry is how long the window will be open, and how far the e-cigarette makers will exploit it in the meantime.

Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth

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