FDA Mulls New Regulations for E-Liquids
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to implement new regulations on e-liquids. While there is no final word on what the rules will be, the FDA said that the increase in reported nicotine poisonings has prompted them to consider whether “It would be appropriate for the protection of the public health to warn the public about the dangers of nicotine exposure” and “require that some tobacco products be sold in child-resistant packaging.”
The FDA is primarily targeting e-liquids in this new area of regulation, however it would also impact other novelty tobacco products such as nicotine strips, beverages, and lotions. E-liquids are still the top selling form of liquid nicotine as vapers rely on the “e-juice” to refill ecigarettes in a massive market estimated to hit $2.1 billion in sales this year.
Before making any official regulations, the FDA is opening the floor for public comments about proposed warnings and safety protocols. In April of 2014, the FDA released proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, but there have been no further announcements as to when those regulations would be implemented or whether they would be adjusted after public comments were accepted.
The FDA has the power to regulate ecigs under a 2009 law that gave them authority over tobacco products. Interestingly, e-cigarettes are tobacco-free and yet legislators are still clumping them in with tobacco products because ecigs often mimic traditional cigarettes. The FDA has the authority to require new warning labels, restrict advertising, and even restrict flavors.
Not surprisingly, anti-tobacco activists are standing in support of the FDA’s plans to regulate eliquids. Susan Liss, the executive director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids issued a statement about the FDA’s announcement. “We’re pleased that the FDA is taking this step, but this is not a replacement for quickly issuing a final, strong deeming rule that regulates all tobacco products and addresses flavors and marketing,” she said.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, shrugged off the announcement, pointing out that the vast majority of eliquid companies already use child-resistant packages. However, Conley believes warning labels could be harmful if they are not carefully monitored.
“Poorly designed warning labels have the capacity to mislead adult smokers on the relative risks of vaping versus tobacco smoking,” he explained. “Any proposed warning must be thoroughly tested to ensure that it only imparts factual information.”
For now, the FDA will open up the floor for public comments over the next 60 days. They have posed many questions about e-liquids and hope the public will respond promptly. They want to know what language people want to see on nicotine warning labels. They also want to know if eliquids should include graphic warnings like traditional tobacco products. The FDA is also asking whether child-resistant packaging should be required for all eliquids and for other forms of liquid nicotine.
We will continue to cover the FDA’s movements on this issue in the coming months. For now, share your opinion on the eliquid regulations. Should warning labels be required and what kinds of warnings are appropriate?