E-Cigarettes Escape Tighter Regulation

Court decides electronic smokes should be treated like tobacco
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 3:23 AM CST
Factory workers place partially assembled electronic cigarettes in a tray after testing their amber LED lights.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)

(Newser) – The Food and Drug Administration's attempt to crack down on "electronic cigarettes" has been defeated in court. A federal appeals court ruled that the products, which create a nicotine vapor instead of smoke, should be treated like tobacco products—not like nicotine-placement gum or patches, which would place them under tighter regulation. The decision means that while the FDA can regulate the marketing of e-cigarettes, it hasn't got the power to restrict sales or block imports, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The FDA, which warns that the vapor may still contain toxic ingredients, argued that e-cigarettes should be regulated in the same way as nicotine patches and gum. An e-cigarette maker argued that the products were sold for "smoking pleasure," not therapeutic use. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has urged the agency to appeal to the Supreme Court. "This ruling invites the creation of a wild west of products containing highly addictive nicotine," a spokesman for the group said.

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