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   WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
   While the proposal being issued Thursday won't immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.
   The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don't immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards.
   Any further rules "will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits," Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.
   Once finalized, the agency could propose more restrictions on e-cigarettes. Officials didn't provide a timetable for that action.
   Members of Congress and public health groups have raised concerns over e-cigarettes and questioned their marketing tactics.
   "When finalized (the proposal) would result in significant public health benefits, including through reducing sales to youth, helping to correct consumer misperceptions, preventing misleading health claims and preventing new products from entering the market without scientific review by FDA," said Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.
   The FDA said the public, members of the industry and others will have 75 days to comment on the proposal. The agency will evaluate those comments before issuing a final rule but there's no timetable for when that will happen. The regulations will be a step in a long process that many believe will ultimately end up being challenged in court.
   E-cigarettes are plastic or metal tubes, usually the size of a cigarette, that heat a liquid nicotine solution instead of burning tobacco. That creates vapor that users inhale.
   Smokers like e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor looks like smoke but doesn't contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some smokers use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco, or to cut down. However, there's not much scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes help smokers quit or smoke less, and it's unclear how safe they are.
   The industry started on the Internet and at shopping-mall kiosks and has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide who can choose from more than 200 brands. Sales are estimated to have reached nearly $2 billion in 2013. Tobacco company executives have noted that they are eating into traditional cigarette sales, and their companies have jumped into the business.
   Some believe lightly regulating electronic cigarettes might actually be better for public health overall, if smokers switch and e-cigarettes really are safer. Others are raising alarms about the hazards of the products and a litany of questions about whether e-cigarettes will keep smokers addicted or encourage others to start using e-cigarettes, and even eventually tobacco products.
   "Right now for something like e-cigarettes, there are far more questions than answers," Zeller said, adding that the agency is conducting research to better understand the safety of the devices and who is using them.
   In addition to prohibiting sales to minors and requiring health labels that warn users that nicotine is an addictive chemical, e-cigarette makers also would be required to register their products with the agency and disclose ingredients. They also would not be allowed to claim their products are safer than other tobacco products.
   They also couldn't use words such as "light" or "mild" to describe their products, give out free samples or sell their products in vending machines unless they are in a place open only to adults, such as a bar.
   Companies also will be required to submit applications for premarket review within two years. As long as an e-cigarette maker has submitted the application, the FDA said it will allow the products to stay on the market while they are being reviewed. That would mean companies would have to submit an application for all e-cigarettes now being sold.
Published in Health & Fitness

   The Missouri House is advancing a bill aimed at keeping electronic cigarettes out of the hands of children and young teens.  

   E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to heat a liquid nicotine solution and create vapor that's inhaled.  

   The proposed legislation would bar sales to anyone younger than 18. The bill was approved by voice vote Tuesday and needs another affirmative vote before moving on to the state Senate.  

   The federal Food and Drug Administration has said it plans to set marketing and product regulations for E-cigarettes in the near future, but hasn't done so yet.

Published in Local News
Monday, 17 February 2014 07:45

SIUE bans E-cigarettes indoors

   Smokers of electronic cigarettes will have to go outdoors like smokers of traditional tobacco products at one St. Louis area college campus.  The Belleville News Democrat reports SIU-Edwardsville has banned electronic cigarettes indoors.  

   Campus officials told the paper that they felt the need to set a policy on E-cigarettes, since its the state's indoor smoking ban doesn't address them.  Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine via water vapor instead of smoke from burning tobacco.  University officials say there's not enough data on the safety of the water vapors to non-smokers nearby.

   Under SIUE's new policy, E-cigarettes may only be used outdoors, at least 15 feet away from an entrance.

Published in Health & Fitness
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:48

E-Cigarettes under fire in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago's City Council is expected to vote on a proposal that would limit the use of electronic cigarettes.
The proposal that's set to be discussed Wednesday would expand the city's regulation of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, barring their use in offices, indoor public areas and within a certain distance of building entrances.
Electronic cigarettes are metal or plastic battery-powered devices resembling traditional cigarettes that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.
But their popularity among young people has raised the concern of public health officials.
WLS-TV reports the proposed rules would also require merchants who sell e-cigarettes to keep them behind store counters.
Published in Local News

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