FDA Extends Public Comment Period for E-Cigarette Rules

The public will have more time to weigh in on a federal proposal to regulate electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that the public comment period slated to end July 9 is being extended an additional 30 days to Aug. 8 after getting lots of input on how to regulate e-cigarettes. Those are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. The FDA also proposed extending its authority to regulate cigars, hookahs, nicotine gels and pipe tobacco.

In April, the FDA proposed banning sales of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, adding warning labels and requiring agency approval for new products. But the FDA didn’t immediately place any marketing restrictions on e-cigarette makers or ban fruit or candy flavors, which are barred for use in regular cigarettes. The agency has left the door open to further regulations, but says it wants more evidence before it rushes into more restrictions.

In addition to mandating warning labels that say nicotine is an addictive chemical, the rules would require e-cigarette makers to disclose their products’ ingredients. They would not be allowed to claim their products are safer than other tobacco products. In addition, they couldn’t give out free samples or sell e-cigarettes in vending machines unless they are in a place open only to adults, such as a bar.