CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with the Food and Drug Administration are working to expand the FDA’s authority and regulate additional tobacco products like electronic cigarettes along with cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water pipe or hookah tobacco and dissolvables.

A public comment period on that proposed regulatory expansion for the evolving tobacco marketplace continues through July 9.

“None of these products are currently regulated by FDA.  The only tobacco products that we regulate are cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll your own,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Policies, told MetroNews.

“We are proposing to regulate those products and make it illegal to sell any of these currently unregulated products to kids, make it illegal to sell any of these products in a vending machine — unless the vending machine is in an adult-only establishment.  We’ve also proposed a series of health warning labels depending upon the category of product.”

With FDA regulations, the age limit to buy e-cigarettes and the other tobacco products could be set at 18 at least.  Individual states could choose to implement a different age limit.

Manufacturers would also have to register their products and ingredients with the FDA and undergo a full FDA review before marketing new products.  Currently, Zeller said there are many questions about what health risks e-cigarettes and the other products pose and, in some cases, how much nicotine or other chemicals are being inhaled.

Between 2011 and 2012, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the use of e-cigarettes among high school students more than doubled — from 4.7 percent to ten percent.

Zeller said the additional FDA regulatory authority is overdue.

“Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and, especially in a state like West Virginia — where the smoking rates are way, way above the national average — this remains a major health problem,” said Zeller.

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  • Jamie Saunders

    Fools here! Every time you let the govt take control of something, you lose something. The people making the decisions here are NOT voted on, and, like DMV, have no one to answer to. Again, fools! You and the govt.

  • northforkfisher

    I'm glad that they are going to regulate this. I quit chewing 5 years ago and don't think it is right to be exposed to nicotine vapor. After all, it's what makes the addiction and I had a hard of time quitting.

  • thornton

    Glad I laid in a quantity of Old Dublin, et al...hard to best a warm briar on a cold day when one has spent the day behind a birddog's tail.

    Actually, good for the FDA...those cig addicts suck anything deep into their lungs under the cover of a different name....and the snuff stuff is bad juju.

  • The Real Deal

    Great idea, now those of us who choose a healthier alternative to cigarettes will be burdened with higher prices for these alternatives. I hope they regulate nicotine gum and mints as well. That's the only way this legislation could be seen as fair. I haven't smoked a real cigarette in 5 years thanks to e-cigs and owe my improved health, lowered blood pressure, higher lung capacity, and my ability to exercise without falling over to these products. I guess Orwell was right. Only this time big brother is "big tobacco". I guess the taxman has to get his coffers refilled somehow.

    • Jim

      Nicotine Replacements such as gum and mints are already regulated by the FDA. So you haven't smoked a real cig in 5 years but you are still addicted to the e cig. You do realize that the e cig is put out by the tobacco companies to keep you addicted to Nicotine.

  • ViennaGuy

    This is one of the problems with a huge federal bureaucracy; it never has enough power or enough authority.

    If regulation is needed, let the states regulate these products; indeed, they already are moving in that direction without the federal government's involvement.

  • Tom

    Long overdue.

  • zero tolerance

    All because the FDA wants to ensure that these e-cigarettes are safe as opposed to the already regular cigarettes which are deemed "regulated" to ensure public safety.

    How laughable!

  • NCWV

    They left out the part where they will collect extra taxes to pay for all the regulation, which will probably double the price and cause fewer people to buy them; driving the teen smoking rate higher.

    • Jim

      And you get your data that it will drive the teen smoking rate up from where?? Or is that just logic from your brain???

  • RogerD

    Most everyone knows the thousands upon thousands of new regulations the FDA and other government agencies add each year is not enough. We need more, please. How about a million new ones this year? Please protect us! (sarc)