FDA taking steps to regulate e-cigarettes - FOX 32 News Chicago

FDA taking steps to regulate e-cigarettes

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Federal health authorities say they are taking an important step toward protesting the public's health. After three years of trying, The FDA has come up with regulations for e-cigarettes, vapor sticks that smokers use to try to kick the habit.

The Food and Drug Administration wants to regulate the popular devices like regular cigarettes.

Many Chicago convenience stores sell e-cigarettes, even though Chicago has the highest taxes on regular cigarettes. Now, the FDA wants to regulate them like other tobacco products.

In Chicago, the e-cigarettes are already locked up and will soon be banned indoors. But the FDA also wants e-cigarette companies to provide ingredient details, how they are made, and health warnings. The battery operated devices also come in kid friendly flavors like candy and gum.

There has been a lot of controversy over whether it is harmful and if it helps people quit smoking.

"For a lot of people, they are trying to understand how electronic cigarettes fit into regulations like smoking bans. We would hope this would be a science based conversation based upon different attributes versus traditional cigarettes," officials say.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released this statement on the issue Thursday:

I applaud today's decision by the federal government to follow Chicago's lead and take a step toward regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Last year, I called for the FDA to protect our youth by clamping down on this product, which the tobacco industry has created to lure the next generation of smokers. But we did not wait for the federal government to act. We passed a law making Chicago one of the first big cities to ban the smoking of e-cigarettes indoors- a law that will take effect next week. i also championed new ruled to move e-cigarettes behind counters in Chicago, away from children and we are the only jurisdiction in the nation to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes near schools. Today, the FDA took a first step, and I hope it now turns to a complete ban of flavored products and marketing to children.

But e-cigarette makers say they are totally different from combustable cigarettes.

"They are safer. They contain nicotine but not smoke," one e-cigarette spokesperson said.

Under the FDA proposed guidelines, e-cigarette companies would still be able to advertise on television. The FDA also wants to control cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah pipes.

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