According to a report in the StarTribune, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are extending the 75 day comment period regarding their proposed e-cigarette regulations. This will give more time for the public to weigh in on the FDA's proposal to regulate the electronic cigarette industry. The FDA said this past Friday that the July 9th deadline would be extended 30 days to August 8th.
In April, the FDA proposed banning sales to anyone under 18, adding warning labels and requiring agency approval for new products. But the agency did not put any restrictions on product marketing or ban any e-liquid manufacturers from using fruit or candy flavors. The FDA has left itself room to add more restrictions but has expressed a reluctance to rush into more restrictions at this time.
In addition to mandating warning labels that say nicotine is an addictive chemical, the new rules would require ecigarette and eliquid manufacturers to disclose their products' ingredients. They would not be able to claim that their products are safer than other tobacco products, and they could not give out free samples or sell electronic cigarette products in vending machines except in adult-only areas like bars and vapor lounges.
At the time the StarTribune article was written, there had been 33,700 comments on the proposal. As a comparison, the FDA received over 176,000 comments on proposed regulations on menthol cigarettes during that 120 day comment period. There is currently no timetable for when the FDA will issue its final ruling. There is little doubt that the public has an opportunity to shape the FDA's rulings regarding e-cigarettes. Many, however, believe the final regulations will wind up in court.
The electronic cigarette industry has grown from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide and reached nearly 2 billion in sales last year. Smokers are switching to e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor resembles smoke but does not contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some smokers use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco or to cut down.