In a major development, the federal government has decided to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes among minors by banning them, besides making approval for new products and health warning labels mandatory.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not immediately enforced the changes for the modern smoking devices but has initiated the first step towards taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said, “Any further rules “will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits.”
The members of Congress and public health groups have raised concerns over the rampant use of modern cigarettes among the teens and questioned their marketing tactics.
“When finalized (the proposal) would result in significant public health benefits, including through reducing sales to youth, helping to correct consumer misperceptions, preventing misleading health claims and preventing new products from entering the market without scientific review by FDA,” said Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
Apart from this, the federal body has also proposed extending its authority to regulate cigars, hookah, nicotine gels, pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products.
How far your E-cigarettes safe?
How far these e-cigarettes healthy are a matter that needs to be addressed. There’s a little research on how safe they are and their efficiency on kicking the smoking habit is also doubtable.
A survey says more people are giving e-cigarettes a try every day. About one in five adult cigarette smokers in the US had tried electronic cigarettes in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2010. Sales reached nearly USD 500 million in 2012 and are expected to double to USD 1 billion this year. An estimated 43.8 million people, or 19 percent of adults, in the United States smoke cigarettes.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for more than 440,000 deaths annually.
About 6% of all US adults and 21% of adult smokers said they tried them in 2011, double the 2010 rate, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also found six in 10 were aware of them in 2011, up from four in 10 a year earlier.
What is E-Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a smoke-free alternative to the traditional paper cigarette. It is comprised of a liquid cartridge attached to a white cylinder containing a battery. The liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol (a common chemical used in many in food products), vegetable glycerin, flavoring and nicotine. The battery heats the liquid into a vapor that the user inhales. Instead of the tradition term ‘smoking’, having e-cigarettes is called “vaping.”
E- cigarettes range from around USD 10 to as much as USD 70 depending upon the manufacturers. Although prices of the complete set of electronic cigarettes vary, pre-filled liquid cartridges usually cost a few dollars. These cartridges usually last about as long as a pack of regular cigarettes. Flavoured e-liquid are also available for the vaping lovers at a price ranging from a few dollars to more than USD 10 depending on size.
So far, no sincere research has been carried to trace the health effects of inhaling a nicotine-laced vapour. There’s a lot scientists still don’t know about these modernized method of smoking. These include the actual chemical exposure that users receive compared with traditional smokers’ intake; the way vaporized nicotine is absorbed by the body; and the effects of secondhand vapour.
The e-liquids themselves are not required to meet any federal standards. For now, e-cigarettes are in a gray area and are not regulated as tobacco products or medical devices, even though they share similarities with both product categories.