Makes of e-cigarettes are lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate their products less strictly than traditional cigarettes, The Washington Post reports. The agency has said it will start regulating the e-cigarette industry later this month.
The FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco, but not e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco or cigars. Under a 2009 law, the FDA can expand its authority over all tobacco products, but it must first issue new regulations. The agency could restrict how e-cigarettes are marketed, where they are sold and who can purchase them.
The makers of Marlboro, Newport and Camel cigarettes have entered the e-cigarette market, which is projected to approach $2 billion this year, the article notes. The companies hope to avoid the type of heavy regulation currently governing the traditional cigarette market.
Executives of companies that make e-cigarettes have been meeting with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products and with members of Congress who oversee the agency. The newspaper reports the FDA’s tobacco center has held at least a dozen meetings with representatives of the e-cigarette industry since September 2012. The FDA described them as “listening sessions,” held at the companies’ request.
The executives argue their products are not a health hazard and therefore should not be subject to the same type of regulations as traditional cigarettes. The companies are also lobbying in cities and states where legislatures are debating how much to tax e-cigarettes, and where people should be allowed to use the devices.
Last month, the attorneys general of 41 states asked the FDA to issue regulations for e-cigarettes by the end of October. They said they want to ensure e-cigarette companies do not continue to sell or advertise to minors.