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March 4, 2015

E-Cigarette Regulations Put Off Trickiest Issues for Later

New York Times: “At last, Washington is moving to police the multibillion-dollar business of electronic cigarettes.”

“The biggest issues may not be confronted for years. Companies will have two years after the new regulations go into effect to file applications to the F.D.A. for approval of their products. The regulation itself could take a year or two to go into effect, as the agency will have to sort through tens of thousands of public comments, including from industry. Then there is the chance that companies will sue, which would add even more time to the process.”

“One crucial question is how arduous the process will be for e-cigarette companies to get the F.D.A.’s approval for making claims that they are less dangerous than ordinary cigarettes. Companies had been in legal limbo because, until Thursday, the agency did not legally have jurisdiction over them. Some made rogue claims, but most held back. Health advocates want e-cigarette companies to be able to make such claims.”

“Several pathways exist, but the easiest route is claiming that a given e-cigarette is the same as products on the market in previous years. But so few existed that it was unclear how the process would work, and the F.D.A. has asked for comment on that, too.”

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