Home > Blog > FDA Being Pressured to Better Regulate E-Cigarette Industry

Forty state Attorneys General are pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to “restrict the advertising, ingredients, and sale of electronic cigarettes to youth,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  The use of e-cigarettes among young people is growing quickly: in 2011, 4.7% of children reported using e-cigarettes.  Just one year later, that number has jumped to 10%.  It is a $1 billion a year industry, and that number is sure to grow even more.

The FDA is trying to come up with new regulations by the end of October 2013, but Attorneys General from all over the country are pressuring the FDA not to delay any longer.

The controversy between proponents of e-cigarettes and those against them revolves around whether e-cigarettes are a gateway to real cigarettes or an effective way to stop smoking real cigarettes.  The truth probably lies somewhere in between: for some, it may be a helpful way to wean off of regular cigarettes.  For others, especially young children and teenagers who are experimenting, it may be the first step towards full-blown cigarette use and addiction.

Why are Attorneys General particularly concerned?  Because e-cigarette manufacturers seem to be particularly targeting young people in the following ways:

  • Prime-time TV ads seem to be trying to reach young people particularly
  • Flavors are created to appeal to the young: examples include bubble gum and gummy bear flavors
  • Cartoons are being used in advertisements, something that was made illegal with regular cigarettes years ago
  • They are more affordable to young people than regular cigarettes.  While regular cigarettes are steeply taxed at both the state and federal levels, only one state taxes e-cigarettes

FDA’s Analysis of E-Cigarettes

In 2009, the FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) analyzed 18 different cartridges of 2 popular brands of e-cigarettes.  These included flavored, non-nicotine, and nicotine versions.

According to the FDA,  “DPA’s analysis of the electronic cigarette samples showed that the product contained detectable levels of known carcinogenic and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.”

The following were some specific findings:

  • Diethylene glycol, an ingredient toxic to humans and used in antifreeze, was detected in one of the cartridges
  • Tobacco-specific nitrosamines that are carcinogenic to humans were found in half of the samples
  • Anabasine, myosmine, and beta-nicotyrine were detected in the majority of samples tested.  These are tobacco-specific toxins that are harmful to humans
  • In all but one cartridge, the cartridges labeled “no nicotine” still contained levels of nicotine
  • Amongst cartridges labeled with the same level of nicotine, the actual nicotine levels per puff ranged from 26 to 43 mcg of nicotine

Another disturbing finding was that there were inconsistent or many times altogether non-existent quality controls in the manufacture of these products.

Do You Use Electronic Cigarettes?

If you smoke electronic cigarettes because of claims that they are safer than regular cigarettes, you may be entitled to compensation.  The product liability attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can assess your legal claims.  Contact us today to discuss your case.