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E-Cigarette brands under federal review

May 5th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Hundreds of electronic cigarette brands will have to undergo federal review to stay on the market under new rules that have the potential to upend a multi-billion dollar industry attempting to position itself as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday released long-awaited rules that bring the burgeoning industry under federal oversight.

The changes will limit e-cigarette sales to minors and require new health warnings. In a shift vigorously opposed by the industry, manufacturers must seek federal permission to continue marketing all e-cigarettes launched since 2007, making up the vast majority of the market.

Most companies will have to submit premarket applications that will undergo review to assess their impact on the "public health." Those that don't submit the required information or don't meet federal standards would have their products removed from the market.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable liquid vapor. Though nicotine can be addictive, e-cigarettes lack the chemicals and tars of burning tobacco.

Yet the devices haven't been extensively studied and there's no scientific consensus on any potential benefits or harms from "vaping," including whether it leads young people to become regular smokers.

The FDA action comes five years after the agency first announced its intent to regulate e-cigarettes and more than two years after it floated its initial proposal.

Public health advocates applauded the news.

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