Loose E-Cig Laws Could Mean Fewer Restrictions Later On
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As the federal government slowly works towards regulating the use and taxation of electronic cigarettes, many states have enacted their own laws that could make putting future restrictions on the devices more difficult.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it planned to take authority over of e-cigarettes, but it wasn’t until last April that they proposed their first set of regulations. State lawmakers have filled the void by placing age restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarettes, but experts are concerned about state legislation that prevents taxes on the nicotine devices.
While most lawmakers agree e-cigarettes should not be in the hands of children, there is dispute over how the nicotine devices should be classified. Currently, 31 states have declared e-cigarettes as “alternative nicotine,” but lawmakers say this definition could hinder future taxation on the products, especially if research later determines they are unhealthy.
Members of Congress, state leaders, and public health groups have also expressed concern over the way e-cigarettes are currently marketed. The FDA has shared a similar sentiment, but said their proposal wouldn’t ban television advertisements. “Part of what is driving those elected officials are public health concerns that we share about any aspect of the marketing of this emerging technology that is appealing to the kids,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
The FDA realizes they have been slow to act on the rising use of e-cigarettes, but says they plan to implement their recent proposal as quickly as possible. “It took us too long to get the proposed rule out and we don’t intend a repeat of that as we go from proposed to final,” said Zeller.