Who’s Your Governor; It’s Time to Decide

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Wednesday 18 June 2014 12:13 pm

This election year is set to be a busy one, with 36 states and 3 territories hosting elections for State Governors. Just because there are elections, don’t assume there will be a change in command. Of the 39 vacancies for the position of State Governor, only 8 are term limited or don’t have officials seeking re-election. What this means is that there is a potential for more of the same as 31 incumbent governors are up for re-election out of the 39 vacancies. It’s time for voters to step up to the plate and decide if they want to see some change or if they are satisfied with the way things are. While we all should be watching the FDA’s ruling and following CASAA’s suggestions at the Federal level, state lawmakers play a huge role in vapor rights as well.

Where to Vape

Whos Your Governor; Its Time to DecideCurrently, only 3 states have banned vaping in areas that are 100% smoke free, no questions asked. 10 states have laws that restrict vaping in specific areas, mostly school zones and areas where children might be. However, 172 restrictions exist at the local level, like cities, towns, and counties. If federal proposals go through, more states may be forced to restrict vaping from areas that are smoke free. If more anti-vapor Governors return to office the number of limitiations will climb as they join politicians at the Federal level in creating more vaping bans and more taxes for electronic cigarettes.

Who Can Vape

Just about everyone agrees that electronic cigarettes and vaping products shouldn’t be sold to minors. In fact, the only people who don’t agree are probably minors themselves. While we, along with most vapers take no issue with age restrictions that have been set, we do not want to see more Governors limiting where adults can vape or purchase their vapor products. We also don’t want to see gubernatorial candidates using children and an anti-vapor agenda to help them get elected. No one will be surprised to learn that 23 states have already passed age restrictions stating that vapor products can’t be sold to minors. So, it isn’t that shocking that 13 more states have an age limit on their upcoming ballots. Again, these are good measures, as long as they aren’t bundled with other anti-vapor policies or used as ammunition for anti-vapor candidates to make their way into office.

One big shock comes from Vermont. House Bill 632 in Vermont would make it illegal for anyone not just to buy vapor products, but to possess them at all, regardless of age. There is also another proposal before Vermont’s State Senate to add a 92% tax to electronic cigarettes. On the up and up Vermont’s Governor, Pete Shumlin, is up for re-election and has consistently presented his view of e-cigs as an effective method to quit smoking. He also opposes outrageous taxation, especially considering that the jury is still out on electronic cigarettes. He might be a good guy to keep in the office, if you are registered to vote in Vermont we would highly suggest following Mr. Shumin’s campaign and paying extra attention when vapor is brought up.

Vaping Taxes

Another issue on the ballot is new taxes for vapor products.  9 states propose a new or increased tax on e cigarettes. Some states want them to be taxed exactly like tobacco products. While other states want to charge a percentage or are proposing the addition of a flat rate. Consider Washington, the state that wants to charge a 95% OTP (Other Tobacco Products) rate. The next Governor of the State of Washington will have a huge amount of influence over laws like this. Paying attention to local elections and making the right choice will be key to the vapor community.

Make a Difference

You can make a difference by taking action at the polls. To do that, you need to stay informed. There are several ways to stay informed about what’s going on not just in your state, but at the federal level.

*Visit us frequently to get up to date information about the vaping community.
*Set up Google Alerts for terms like “Your State vaping regulations” or “Your State e cigarette laws”
*Visit your governor’s web page and that of their opponents frequently to learn about any new interviews or changes in position.

Don’t forget to let your voice be heard at the polls. This is where the numbers count. You might even organize the vaping community in your area so that you can ensure that your voices heard on a whole new level!

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RJ Reynolds May be Making Major Moves in the E Cigarette Industry

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Wednesday 11 June 2014 3:01 pm

RJ Reynolds is currently conducting research on what it would take to buy out Lorillard. Nothing is certain yet, but if RJ Reynolds buys Lorillard, it will make waves in the tobacco industry as well as the vapor industry. RJ Reynolds already produces Camel, Kool, and Pall Mall tobacco products. They also have their own line of Vuse e cigs. If RJR acquires Lorillard they will absorb Lorillard’s holdings as well. This means that RJR would produce Camel, Kool, Pall Mall, Newport, Kent, Old Gold, and Maverick tobacco products on top of the vapor brands that they would acquire.

RJ Reynolds May be Making Major Moves in the E Cigarette IndustryAs tobacco cigarette sales have been falling at the rate of about 3% a year, it’s quite possible that RJR is going to downsize the overhead for tobacco production and increase efforts in the vapor market. Lorillard currently makes Blu e cigarettes, one of the top selling e cigarettes in the country. RJ Reynolds has been rolling out their Vuse brand in select markets of the U.S. for over a year now. The purchase would put RJ Reynolds in control of two brands of electronic cigarettes that they would in turn distribute via there already large and in-place distribution network.

Right now there is a lot of speculation about the possible deal. RJR did offer Lorillard $60 a share recently, even though that is a bit above what Lorillard is trading at. Lorillard is said to be holding out for at least $62 a share for now. One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind is where RJR will get the money to finance the purchase. More debt seems to be the answer, but financing is questionable since the move outwardly seems to be a vertical one, and the amount of debt that RJ Reynolds already has on their books. Banks may not be willing to take the risk in a cigarette market in a downward spiral. It would seems that acquiring finance may in fact rely on e cigarette sales.

How will this impact consumers?

Let’s not beat around the bush. RJR is already a little over $5 billion in debt. Naturally, they get some tax breaks because of that debt and because so many loopholes exist for a company that size. That means they aren’t going to be in any hurry to get rid of that debt. At the same time, money is the name of the game and RJR could stand to make a lot of it by absorbing Lorillard. The combination of these two companies, the second and third largest tobacco companies in the U.S., would create a giant that would rival if not topple the current largest Big Tobacco player Altria. Keep in mind that Altria recently made a play and bought Green Smoke. Price wars would likely ensue, especially in the e cig market, which could save vapers money for a while but ultimately create a monster in the form of one company that would dominate the e cig industry.

So what if RJ Reynolds does end up with control over the vapor market? It’s no secret that they have the funds to lobby for the results that they want from the FDA and other potential e cig regulators. It’s also no secret that the lobbying will be in favor of Big Tobacco and not the consumer. At this point we can only guess at the results, but there are a few things to consider.

*There is a push for studies to evaluate the health concerns associated with e cigarettes. Naturally, those studies are federally funded and most likely to be done by large companies like RJR.

*Anytime a large company takes over the majority of the market they also end up with the power to sway pricing. On top of Federal regulations that are going to impact pricing, it is a very real concern for that much power to be in the hands of one company.

*The FDA is seeking control over e cigarettes, regardless of the lack of knowledge involved.

*Insurance companies control almost every aspect of the financial world today. If insurance companies, the FDA and one very powerful company are all in charge of regulating e cigarette prices and access, there is a chance that e cigarettes will at some point be considered for medical use only, making the prices soar ,and creating market that is harder for new companies to compete in.

In short, RJ Reynolds holding that much influence over vapor products is very likely to send a harsh ripple through the entire market. They would likely look to buy up smaller e cigarette companies over time and ultimately rule the market. Once they do that they would be able to influence pricing, product development and more for the entire vapor industry. All of this of course depends on the Federal Trade Commission approving the sale. But let’s be honest, the lobbyists on both RJ Reynolds’ and Lorillard’s payroll could probably see that the deal gets pushed through.

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FDA Shows True Intentions When it Comes to E Cigs

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Monday 9 June 2014 10:30 am

As both the FDA and the CDC keep e-cigarettes under attack, one FDA member makes a surprising comment. At this point, the main issue does not seem to be that vapor products are considered harmful, but that the FDA cannot regulate them as they would like to. Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products asserts that e-cigs are undoubtedly healthier for consumers than tobacco. He further goes on to say that a lack of information about the dangers or benefits of e cigarettes should not put them out of the range of regulation by the FDA.

FDA Shows True Intentions When it Comes to E CigsThere are plenty of proposals on the table for e cigarettes right now. It starts with the FDA aiming to create their own definition of tobacco products and ends with seemingly simple items like nods toward the Paperwork Reduction Act. As CASAA discusses upon reviewing some of these proposals, some of these items would make it impossible for small businesses and medium sized businesses to sell e cigarettes or at least to sell the e cigarettes that many vapers enjoy the most. The only issue that would seem to benefit consumers in any way is the proposed Federal ban to sell to minors as regulated by the FDA. This is part of a larger scope to put e cig control in the hands of the FDA. The only problem is that vapor products could be kept out of children’s hands without stringent oversight from the FDA.

There is very little compelling evidence to suggest that e cigs are harmful in any way. Certainly when the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products makes mention of e cigs being healthier than tobacco, it has to be obvious that vapor products are a step in the right direction. The real issue at hand is cash flow. If you can’t regulate it, you can’t charge a tax. Therein lies the crux of the matter at hand.

The FDA, CDC, and major tobacco companies as well as their stakeholders stand to lose quite a bit of cash flow with the increasing transition of smokers from tobacco to e cigarettes. Mitch Zeller makes that point obvious when he states that the lack of information isn’t the issue at hand; the lack of control is. In other words, this is a market issue, not a health issue. So what can consumers do to prevent yet another product from coming under complete control by the FDA and CDC? Make your voice known.

CASAA offers a plan to help prevent this control from happening and they don’t do it lightly. CASAA offers an in-depth review of every proposal that involves e cigarettes. Keep in mind that this is necessary because many times there are hidden agendas and details of a proposal that aren’t easily made known to the public. CASAA takes on that task and puts legalese into terms that everyone can understand. They also offer a call to action for consumers. Specifically, they are currently offering a call to action to push for an extension on comments.

If you want to get involved in the laws that are being made to govern the use of vapor products, you can join in one of the calls to action hosted by CASAA. If you think that these issues are too small to impact you, think again. One small example includes the fact that Rhode Island is proposing an 80% excise tax on vapor products. That wasn’t a typo, they are really asking for 80%.

Vapor products have helped numerous people quit smoking, thus reducing their costs when it comes to perishable goods as well as healthcare. The truth of the matter is that this isn’t sitting well with those whose bank accounts relied on these funds. If you want to keep vapor products in the hands of consumers, then now is the time to take action.

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Was NJOY Wrong to Sue Victory?

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Tuesday 3 June 2014 11:43 am

In September of 2013, NJOY, the world leader in electronic cigarettes, filed a lawsuit against Victory Electronic Cigarettes and Victory Electronic Cigarettes Inc. claiming that Victory was infringing on their patent rights and case trade rights. The patent in question was U.S. patent number 8,539,959. The patent concerns the details of methods used to make NJOY electronic cigarettes.

Image is Everything

Was NJOY Wrong to Sue Victory?It can be said that the majority of sales today for almost any product on the market are based on branding rather than quality. The media devotes a lot of attention to branding and consumers respond as expected. In other words, image is everything. NJOY learned that very quickly and ran with it. More than that, they created a quality product that responds to the needs of smokers in a way that no other company had done on such a large scale.

A good portion of the things that makes NJOY e cigs so popular is the fact that they mimic everything about a tobacco cigarette while not being an actual tobacco cigarette. From the inclusion of nicotine and the ability to go through the same motions that tobacco smokers go through to the very “pack” that the e cigs are sold in. NJOY really did pioneer providing smokers a way to have the complete smoking experience without smoking a tobacco cigarette. Apparently, Victory tried to capitalize on the brilliance of NJOY and NJOY had to call them out on it.

Victory used every technique that NJOY used, but they didn’t have the advantage of being the company that designed the e cigs or the packaging that they came in. As soon as the patent was approved, that meant Victory was breaking the law.

NJOY Goes a Step Further

NJOY was not worried about being associated with Victory. There wasn’t even any concern that Victory was going to take its image to the heights that NJOY is at because other than having a top quality product, NJOY brings integrity to the table as well and promotes responsible use of vapor. They championed the We Card program in an effort to prevent minors from using e cigs and they were the first e cigarette company to do so. The problem is that it simply wasn’t right for Victory to use the results of the hard work of the marketing and design teams at NJOY to make a profit for themselves.

NJOY Wins

In the end, NJOY won the lawsuit and the case was settled. Victory agreed to stop infringing on the patent rights. They also agreed to stop infringing on case trade rights. This wasn’t about greed. It was about doing your own homework and using your own ideas to build your business. NJOY is popular because they have addressed concerns of smokers as well as parents in the best ways that they could. No other company should attempt to trade on that, unless they have produced results doing so.

NJOY sells rechargeable as well as disposable electronic cigarettes. They are in over 90,000 stores in the US alone. They are not just the top standard when it comes to e cigarettes; they are the top standard when it comes to benefitting the public and employing sound business practices. While we would like to see more companies jump in on the trend, they have to do it legally. The results of this lawsuit prove that. While some may argue that this is a case of a larger company bullying a smaller one, we disagree. There is plenty of room in the e cig market for new competitors, they simply need to do business on their own terms. While this is one of the first “vapor lawsuits” to make big headlines it certainly will not be the last. Vapor has become big business, which breeds lawsuits in many cases.

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Long Term Study Supports E Cigarettes as a Quitting Tool

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Wednesday 21 May 2014 11:27 am

A study published by Robert West in Addiction recently uncovered the fact that smokers have a 60% increase in chances of quitting smoking when they use the e cigarette as opposed to other OTC measures or willpower alone. Chances may increase even more when professional support is taken advantage of.

Long Term Study Supports E Cigarettes as a Quitting ToolThe study was done over the course of five years between 2009 and 2014. Using surveys, 5863 smokers responded to questioning concerning the effectiveness of the e cigarette versus other methods they may have tried. Methods excluded included prescriptions and professional support, leading researches to wonder how effective e cigarettes might be in comparison to prescription methods, whether e cigs should be prescribed, and the effectiveness of e cigs should smokers decide to take advantage of professional services as well as e cigs.

It’s important to note that the study did not address or claim to address concerns over whether or not e cigs are healthy. What they did address is the fact that just about anything other than inhaling tobacco and the chemicals that it is saturated in is the better option or rather, the more effective one. Numbers don’t lie. At the time of the study, 20% of those being surveyed had quit smoking using some form of e cigarette.

Part of the reason that e cigs seem to be so effective is the same reason that the study needed to be adjusted. Every smoker has their own reasons for smoking. Age and the sub-culture within that age group has much to do with it. So does the level of addiction to nicotine, how many previous attempts were made, and whether those attempts were done gradually or abruptly.

Before speculation begins on why the e cigarette is more effective than other methods, take a look at some numbers.

10.4% of the people involved in the study had quit using some method other than e cigarettes. Even if you are generous and assume that 10% of the 10.4% used the same specific method, that’s still only half as effective as e cigarettes, but the 10.4% represents a combination of methods.

15.4% quit using only willpower. That says a lot about the experience of smoking. For one thing, you have to be ready and in some cases, you may not enjoy cigarettes enough to want any type of replacement. Another possibility is that even though these people got some kind of satisfaction out of smoking, for one reason or another they were unwilling to continue it. And those people, the ones who were just done altogether, still don’t reach the numbers that e cigarettes do.

What is the difference between all of these methods and e cigarettes? Many of them provide nicotine, so by default you can assume that the provision of nicotine is not the only reason people smoke because many of these aids still don’t work. The most effective aid in the study, the e cigarette, does not only provide nicotine; it provides a sensation similar to smoking.

There is no doubt or argument about whether or not smoking is healthy. It leads to the numerous health problems which eventually lead to death. The math seems simple to most, but more studies will have to be done to assess the exact impact on the people exposed to vaping. At the very least, it would seem obvious to most that vaping is far less dangerous than smoking and by default, is the healthier alternative for those who just can’t seem to or don’t want to walk away from the cigarette.

 

 

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CASAA’s Call to Action

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Wednesday 14 May 2014 7:56 pm

The Consumer Advocate for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASSA) has issued a request concerning the FDA’s proposed amendment that would allow them to regulate vapor products. At first glance, the request reads more like a halt on action, but if you read it all the way through, you soon come to understand that there is no better plan. Other agencies, like the Cigar Association of America are taking similar steps as well. The current request is that consumers wait to comment and instead, respond to each Call to Action as it is issued.

CASAAs Call to ActionThe request is an overview of the plan that CASAA will follow in response to the FDA’s call for comments from the public. The public has 75 days to read the proposal, analyze it, and respond to it. Since the proposal itself is 241 pages long and the regulatory impact analysis is another 81 pages long, 75 days does not seem like enough time to gain a full understanding of the proposal. Just one element of the proposal is that the FDA gets to determine what does and does not fall under the umbrella term (which isn’t an umbrella term at all) “tobacco”. By most definitions tobacco seems like a very straightforward category, but the FDA doesn’t agree. Keep in mind this is just one element of the proposal. There will be many others that we all need to respond to.

CASAA’s request is that consumers simply wait and follow the multiple Calls to Action as they release them. This would provide a very organized and effective means by which vapers can combat the FDA proposal. Current analysis of the proposal reveals that most of it offers nothing to the consumer other than a higher cost. Unlike the FDA, CASAA is looking out for the needs of the consumer and specifically the needs of those who either enjoy vaping or understand that it is a better alternative than smoking.

First Call to Action

The first Call to Action suggests that consumers request an extension on the comment period itself. This gives consumers time to read and understand the proposal so that they can address one or more of the various elements of the proposal when they do make a comment. Part of the reason for the extension is the large amount of requests for information from the FDA –  99 to be exact if you don’t count repeats and cigar-only related questions. CASAA offers a sample request as well as detailed information on how to submit your request to the FDA right on their website. This is the first in a series of Calls to Action that CASAA will release.

How You Can Help

CASAA will be updating their blog when a new Call to Action is ready. You can respond to the calls yourself, but there are a lot more things you can do to help the cause as well. Keep in mind that the main goal of CASAA is to promote consumers rights, but also to spread awareness and knowledge so that the right to use vapor products is not trampled and this alternative can continue to help people enjoy a better quality of life everywhere. There is a lot of misinformation about vaping out there and CASAA aims to offer fact based information to combat the falsities.

1.)Take advantage of free membership to CASAA.
2.)Help spread awareness by sharing blog posts and information about CASAA on social networks.
3.)Share your own story through the Testimonial Project on CASAA. Let the world know how e-cigarettes have changed your life.
4.)Create a summary of your experience to use with a Call to Action in the future.
5.)Share information with vendors and ask them to add CASAA graphics to their sites, offer brochures to their customers, and take advantage of vendor kits that can help spread awareness. Keep in mind that many vendors may not realize the impact the FDA’s proposal will have on them. Talk with them about the way changes in tobacco regulation has already impacted their business.
6.)Share, share, share! Whether you are sharing emails or blog posts, keep the information moving!

Be sure to check back here or on CASAA’s site for more information on how you can help.

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New York State Bill Would Ban E Liquid Sales

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Monday 12 May 2014 3:43 pm

The debate around electronic cigarette regulation is about to be at an all-time high. Many cities, including New York and Philadelphia, officially outlawed vaping in public places just last month.  Next the Food and Drug Administration released their proposal to include vapor products in the Tobacco Control Act. These particular stories have made for the biggest headlines. Unfortunately there are proposals and bills out there that are aimed at limiting, if not eliminating electronic cigarettes. One that hasn’t gotten enough press is currently before the New York State Senate, Bill S6939-2013. This piece of legislation would potentially make it illegal to sell or give away e liquids in the state of New York. That’s right; if you can’t make e cigarettes illegal just outlaw the juice.

The Rundown of New York State Senate Bill S6939-2013 (More info on the bill)

New York State Bill Would Ban E Liquid SalesThe first section of the bill looks to rework how electronic cigarettes are legally defined in New York. The sponsors of the bill want to officially define electronic cigarettes “to mean a battery operated device that contains cartridges or liquids filled with a combination of nicotine and chemicals”.

The second section cuts right to it and states that the bill will “prohibit the sale, offer to sell, or giving away of electronic liquids or e-liquids by any company or entity”. Anyone found violating this section of the suggested law would be punishable by a fine up to $500.00 per offense.

The second section also looks to legally define e liquids “as a liquid composed of nicotine and other chemicals, which is sold as a product that may be used in electronic cigarettes”.

The third and last section of the bill states that it will become law 90 days after is voted in, considering that it passes of course.

Who Can We Thank For This?

The Bill is sponsored by NY State Senator Kemp Hannon and NY State Senator Tony Avella and is, of course, being filed as a plea in favor of public health. Feel free to use either of the links attached to their names, they lead directly to their contact information. If you agree with us, then you will let them know just how terrible their idea is. Outlawing e liquids is on the short list of actions that would immediately harm public health. Yes we all want to see more studies, but no it is not time to render an entire state incapable of using e cigarettes. This particular Bill and its repercussions are simply too extreme to be made law. It is a back door attempt at banning electronic cigarettes that we as the vapor community can simply not allow.

What we can do is make our voices heard. Letting the politicians responsible for this loosely written and poorly founded Bill know how you feel is step one. Spreading the word and making others aware of the existence of arguments like this is the next step. Ultimately we will all have to show support for vapor when voting in elections, from the state up to the Federal level. Vapor isn’t just something enjoyed by a small group of people in a select niche any more. It is a part of life and main stream America. Fortunately it’s one of the parts that seems to be helping people and improving lives. We can’t allow backdoor political strategies to take it away.

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It’s Official; The FDA Wants to Treat E Cigs Like Analogs

Posted by Chris | E-Cig News | Wednesday 30 April 2014 4:01 pm

The ping pong sensationalist argument over e-cigarettes has reached its first landmark: the Food and Drug Administration recently released its regulatory proposal governing e-cigarettes as smokeless tobacco products. In a press release dated April 24, 2014, the FDA included e-cigarettes among other tobacco-related products that it wants authority over in implementing the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Its Official; The FDA Wants to Treat E Cigs Like AnalogsThe actual rule reads as follows:

… makers of newly deemed tobacco products would, among other requirements:

  • *Register with the FDA and report product and ingredient listings;
  • *Only market new tobacco products after FDA review;
  • *Only make direct and implied claims of reduced risk if the FDA confirms that scientific evidence supports the claim and that marketing the product will benefit   public health as a whole
  • *Not distribute free samples.

In addition, under the proposed rule, the following provisions would apply to newly “deemed” tobacco products:

  • *Minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth;
  • *Requirements to include health warnings; and
  • *Prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth.

The FDA proposes different compliance dates for various provisions so that all regulated entities, including small businesses, will have adequate time to comply with the requirements of the proposed rule.

The current proposal is open to public comment for 75 days, i.e., until July 9. To submit comments electronically, head to the proposed rule’s regulation.gov page.

Notably, the FDA is looking for public input about how products like e-cigarettes should be fully regulated under the agency’s oversight. It cites “many public health questions” and the absence of tobacco combustion as the cause for the mostly vague designation of e-cigarettes.

The rule has no affect on marketing or accessories of a deemed tobacco product. That means that, for now at least, the FDA would be regulating e-liquids with nicotine and flavorings, as well as the cig-a-like units sold side-by-side with cigarettes. Keep in ind that marketing will ultimately be regulated, potentially taking away: online sales, television commercials, sports sponsorships and more.

Interestingly, despite the heavy attention e-cigarettes have been receiving in relation to the new regulations, it’s just one of a handful of other tobacco-based products that aren’t yet under FDA authority, such as cigars. The proposed products that are to become “subject to FDA regulation are those that meet the statutory definition of a tobacco product, including currently unregulated marketed products.”

Most of the products on the list make sense since they involve actual tobacco combustion. However, two are notably different, and both are smoking-cessation products – e-cigarettes and nicotine gel.

Smoking-cessation aids are specifically regulated as medical products by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The listing for smoking-cessation aids does not discuss those aids – even the ones containing nicotine and other traces of tobacco byproducts – as tobacco-based products. The FDA does provide a specific list named Recognize Tobacco in its Many Forms, which includes e-cigarettes but does not include nicotine gel or other smoking-cessation aids.

It’s hard to say whether that indicates that the FDA intends to move forward with regulating e-cigs the same way it regulates tobacco-burning products, or if the listing is due only to the fact that it describes e-cigarettes as the cig-a-like units containing “tobacco flavorings.” FDA regulation of designated therapeutic aids would not change with the new rule. The rule also would not affect the three five-year studies the FDA contracted last fall.

As of the date this article was written, only 85 comments have been received.

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