FDA to confirm light touch ecigarette regulations tomorrow

UPDATE: Mark’s column was supposed to appear yesterday. All references to “tomorrow”, actually mean today.

In a rather surprising turn of events, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has today released a “rough outline” of new electronic cigarette regulations which will be released tomorrow. While these regulations were expected towards the end of last year this is the culmination of a near three-year review of the industry. On the face of it, it looks as though the FDA has gone down the “light touch” path which many in the industry had been promoting. So what can we expect tomorrow?

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Quality control

In a win-win for the industry, regulators, public and governments, the FDA will force electronic cigarette manufacturers to officially advise them of what is in their products. They will also need to give details about how each product is made and any related scientific data. This move will allow responsible manufacturers to grow and expand their sales, while those who flirt with the low quality end of the market will come under intense pressure.

Sale of electronic cigarettes to minors

As expected, and to the relief of all parties involved, the FDA will tomorrow announce plans to make it illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to those under the age of 18. While this is something which US politicians have used time and time again as a reason to hammer the industry, the fact is that all responsible e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers have no interest whatsoever in selling their products to minors.

This new regulation will allow the sector to clear one of many hurdles which have been holding back the industry for some time. Even though many in the industry already have a voluntary ban on selling electronic cigarettes to those under 18, it will now be unlawful and those who flout the law will be subject to legal proceedings.

Are novelty flavourings off the FDA radar?

Perhaps one of the more bizarre and surprising elements of tomorrow’s expected draft regulations is the fact that so-called novelty flavourings such as bubblegum, grape, etc do not appear to have come under the FDA’s scrutiny at this moment in time. There has been concern expressed by many in the medical industry that novelty flavourings could potentially attract young children to electronic cigarettes. We will no doubt hear why the FDA has decided not to act on this particular subject and this will certainly make interesting reading.

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Marketing restrictions

If the official trailer from the FDA is to be believed, and is indeed accurate as it is being reported in the US, it looks as though there will be few advertising restrictions for electronic cigarettes. Many had automatically assumed that the FDA would introduce a system similar to that which covers tobacco cigarettes but this would appear to be wrong. Whether indeed there will be scope to revisit this particular issue in the future remains to be seen.

Conclusion

It appears on the surface that there is something for everybody tomorrow, retailers, manufacturers, customers and regulators. Many people will be surprised that the FDA has not gone further in its pursuit of electronic cigarettes although perhaps this powerful body is taking a step-by-step approach?

Tomorrow’s official announcement, which will accompany a report which is rumoured to run into hundreds of pages, will set the ball rolling on a 75 day consultation timetable. After the 75 day period has ended the FDA will begin to finalise regulations for the future of the electronic cigarette industry. For those who support the sector, today’s preview looks like an acceptable outcome for the latest battle in the war against over-regulation of the industry.

Just a thought, will we see a number of issues raised during the 75 day consultation period which could drastically change the make-up of the proposed regulations?

Mark Benson

Bio

Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a level headed approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website