BOSTON (CBS) – It’s arguably the most important move by the government to control nicotine products since the original warning by the Surgeon General – a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes like it does traditional ones.
It’s important because e-cigarettes are being pitched as a healthy alternative to smoking. And so far they’ve been totally unregulated.
The fact remains we have no idea what’s in these things. E-cigarettes vaporize vials of liquid that contain nicotine but the other ingredients are a mystery.
Keep in mind that it took years for the big tobacco companies to reveal all the chemicals in cigarette smoke, including things like ammonia, methane and arsenic.
These new regulations would force companies selling e-cigarettes to register with the FDA and provide a detailed description of ingredients and manufacturing process.
The proposed rules would also ban their sale to minors. But some critics don’t think the rules go far enough to protect children.
The FDA is not asking for a ban on flavors and colors that many see as part of an effort to market e-cigarettes to kids.
Think Joe Camel.
For what it’s worth, the tobacco companies say they do not market to kids. And even though the FDA says it will later pursue rules on colors and flavors, many activists fear they would be tied up in court for years.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz
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