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FDA Looking into New E-Cigarette Standards

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of developing tough product standards for electronic cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices.

The new standards will be aimed at protecting public health while also enabling the FDA to withstand legal challenges, according to Mitchell Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Zeller said the FDA is looking into possible product standards in the areas of “addiction, toxicity and product appeal as it prepares to gain regulatory authority over electronic cigarettes and other nicotine-delivery devices,” Reuters reported.

The establishment of product standards is just one of the five initiatives Zeller said the division hopes to tackle over the next few years. The other projects include putting regulations in place for approval of new products and tracking them once they reach the market, ensuring that the FDA has in place a strong compliance and law enforcement presence in every state, improving public education and the creating of an agency-wide nicotine policy that identifies which products are less risky than others, Reuters reported.

The focus on product standards comes during a time when the benefits and risks of e-cigarettes compared to traditional cigarettes is being hotly debated.

The number of calls to poison centers involving nicotine-containing e-cigarette liquids increased from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meanwhile, the number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a comparable increase during that time period, according to the study.

The CDC’s study was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly. It found that 51.1 percent of the calls to poison centers involving e-cigarettes were about young children under age 5, while 42 percent of the poison calls involved people age 20 and older, according to the CDC.

Two months ago the FDA proposed rules that would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and subject industry to federal regulation for the first time, Reuters reported. The proposal did not please many public health advocates, though, as it would not restrict flavored products, or online sales and advertising. Public health advocates have argued that those products and techniques are geared towards attracting children.

Zeller stressed that it is never a good thing for a child to inhale nicotine, but urged the public to keep an open mind until further research is conducted to assess the net impact of e-cigarettes on the overall health of the population.

Zeller said the FDA is also contemplating new regulations for menthol, but added that there was no time frame on how long it will take to formulate a proposal. He said the agency received 176,000 comments from the public on the matter, according to Reuters. disclaimer: This article: FDA Looking into New E-Cigarette Standards was posted on Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 4:23 pm at and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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