At the current juncture, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are not nationally regulated as a tobacco and help contribute to lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death nationwide. Additionally, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. So, if the problem is so large, why have e-cigarettes not yet been regulated nation-wide?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently proposed polices that would include e-cigs as tobacco products and specifically include them in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was signed into law by President Obama. The FDA is still aiming to extend other tobacco laws to include e-cigs, since the FDA oversight was limited to solely include cigarettes.
Because the decision to create nationwide regulations has already taken nearly a year to rule on, some “state and local jurisdictions have stepped in to pass laws and policies within their authority.” These policies include minimum age of purchase laws, location limitations of where e-cigs can be used (much like those of traditional cigarettes), and the additional taxes for the purchase of e-cigs and the associated accessories.
While these policies can be useful as a temporary fix, state laws can change often and quickly so the FDA will need to move quickly in order to create “rules and regulations that will achieve the greatest population health benefit and result in the beginning of the end of smoking as we know it.”