FDA proposes new regulations on electronic cigarettes
April 25, 2014 at 2:25 AM CDT - Updated July 20 at 11:07 PM
Electronic cigarettes have never had federal regulations. But now that may soon be changing.
Advocates say e-cigarettes can be a healthier option compared to traditional smoking.
But, the FDA says it's just too early to tell, which is part of the reason why they proposed new regulation on Thursday.
Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo with the Panhandle Poison Control Center, agrees with the proposed regulations.
"They have not been around long enough for us to see the long term effects of smoking these devices," she said.
It's the common concern among many health professionals, saying just not enough is known about e-cigarettes.
"Because they have not been regulated as a medical product, a medical device or medication, there was no quality control," Jaramillo added.
This is the first step the FDA has taken to regulate the vaporized electronic device.
If accepted, it would immediately make e-cigarettes off limits to children under 18.
Lajuana McGehee is the owner of Mesquite Vapors in Amarillo. Not only does she sell e-cigarettes, she also uses them herself. Although she does not totally agree with all the new proposed regulations, she does think there is at least one positive.
"If they make it to where minors can't buy, I'm totally okay with that," she said.
One of her biggest concern with the proposed regulations has to do with a potential price increase.
"If they tax us like regular cigarettes, we're all going to have to go up on our prices," McGehee said.
But area health professionals are more concerned, that right now, teens can legally get their hands on nicotine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says last year, the number of high school students who report ever using an e-cigarette has more than doubled.
Doctors here say in some cases, teens and children can be exposed to too much nicotine at once if the cartridge leaks or they are swallow by accident.
"You can get two cartridges that you think have the same amount of nicotine in them, but if we tested them, we would see that they don't," Jaramillo told us.
However, that too would be changed with the new proposed regulations. Manufacturers would be required to tell the FDA what exactly goes into their product.
They would also be required to post health warnings on labels, and would not be able to sell them from vending machines.