FDA vs. Vaping

Kids and e-cigs


In a September 29 letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 33 state attorneys general urged the federal regulatory agency to require childproof packaging and strongly worded warning labels for liquid nicotine. They also recommended a prohibition on cartoons and bright colors when advertising the product, similar to the restrictions already in place on tobacco.

As vaping increases in popularity—the document refers to this as "the unchecked growth of the e-cigarette industry"—the market for liquid nicotine e-cig refills and other "novel tobacco products" has rapidly expanded. The FDA has consistently looked for ways to regulate the goods, which are typically not marketed as medical devices.

The letter cites the alarming-sounding statistic that from 2012 to 2014, reported "exposures to liquid nicotine" increased 800 percent. But those numbers begin from a low base of fewer than 500 incidents nationwide, as vaping was comparatively rare in 2012. Proponents of swift action to implement new regulations cite a single death, the tragic poisoning of an 18-month-old in upstate New York last year.

That state's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, declared that "the FDA must step up and regulate the sale and packaging of these dangerous products before any more kids are harmed." But even without hasty rulemaking, many companies already comply with these guidelines, and more are likely to do so as the industry matures.