US City Health Officials Want Tighter Restrictions on E-Cigarettes

A group of urban health officials on Thursday urged the Food and Drug Administration to go beyond the regulations it proposed last week for e-cigarettes and treat them like regular cigarettes.

In an open letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) noted that the FDA has nothing in its proposed regulations that would govern the advertising of e-cigarettes, which it said often targets the youth market.

The FDA did propose banning sales of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18.

The e-cigarette industry, estimated at $2 billion and growing, did not object loudly to last week’s proposed FDA rules, which many health officials found too loose.

According to the BCHC, there were “gaps” in the rules that need to be filled.

“We urge you follow our lead and use your full authority to apply all current tobacco regulations to e-cigarettes,” public health officials representing 11 of the biggest U.S. cities said in their letter. “The FDA must move quickly to address the growing concern about youth use beyond setting a minimum age requirement to purchase e-cigarettes.”