What Being Classified As Tobacco Products Would Mean For E-Cigs
Electronic cigarettes are already regarded by many as tobacco products. They are foreign and frightening to non-smokers, especially those with children; thus, consumers regard them as no better than cigarettes, if not more dangerous. Uncertainty about e liquid and e-cig equipment will give way to science in the coming years. But in the meantime, there is a real threat that the upcoming FDA regulations will treat e-cigs as tobacco products.
What is a Tobacco Product?
A tobacco product, by implication, contains tobacco. In most cases, tobacco is absent from the electronic cigarette and the e liquid it contains, even if one of the ingredients in a liquid is nicotine. Nicotine can be derived from a variety of sources besides tobacco. Furthermore, numerous people vape without nicotine, so regardless of the source a manufacturer uses to create a tobacco-like flavor, real tobacco is not used to create that quality.
There are exceptions where e-liquid companies focus on tobacco flavors and utilize real tobacco plants to create natural extracts. Even when one asks for no added nicotine, there are trace amounts in the juice. Rather than re-classify these products alone, e cigs are all treated the same at the present time.
What Would Regulation Mean to the Industry?
What if the FDA announced they were officially regulating electronic cigarettes as tobacco products? Firstly, rumor and supposition would be legitimized, but there would also be practical consequences.
Secondly, labeling would have to change. Consider the way cigarettes are packaged bearing warnings and graphic images to deter their use by non-smokers and children. Campaigns against cigarettes by health organizations and in the schools would include electronic cigarettes in their literature and would paint an untruthful picture of the industry.
Once regulated, taxation imposed upon cigarettes would be extended to e-cigs and accessories such as e liquid, clearomizers, and more. Savings would be decreased unless companies agreed to reduce their markups in an effort to mitigate this financial blow.
There would be an official age restriction against the sale of e cigs to minors; the same one applied to cigarettes. Law enforcement agencies could fine individuals helping minors to obtain e cigs.
Locating FDA Rules
If you want to find out what rules the FDA already has in place for tobacco products, their website is straightforward. There is currently no federal legislation regarding e cigs although local governments exercise authority at an individual level and enforce rules regarding the minimum age at which one can purchase them or where they can be used in public, if at all.
Reasons for the FDA’s uncertainty are legitimate so long as they do not continue to incorrectly refer to e cigs as tobacco products. They are right in saying that the long-term consequences of e-cig use are unknown.
There is scientific fact regarding the dangers of nicotine, but this is true whether you chew nicotine gum or wear a nicotine patch. Caffeine is not a regulated substance, so if nicotine is to be regulated, vapers will probably argue this fact since both substances are stimulants of about equal danger to the public, yet caffeine is more readily available. This might lead the FDA to reconsider sales of caffeinated energy drinks, but is unlikely to change their mind about regulating e-cigs as tobacco items.