The FDA is taking more aggressive steps to reign in some aspects of e-cigarette marketing in its finalized rule, including a ban on sales to minors, which takes effect today. The regulations also require health warnings in ads and on product packages, prohibits the distribution of free samples, and requires manufacturers to show that the products meet applicable public health standards before receiving authorization from the FDA. But e-cigarettes can continue to be on the market for three years while their manufacturers submit — and the FDA reviews — their new tobacco applications and the products are not bound by the same advertising restrictions that regular tobacco cigarettes must follow. Here’s some key issues to be aware of regarding the marketing of the products:
Unknown risks: While much of the marketing of e-cigarettes has centered around the claim that vaping products are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, the jury is still out on that. In fact, California issued a health warning about their “toxicity” and advised residents not to smoke them. The FDA maintains that the risks associated with e-cigarettes have not been fully studied. At issue is the nicotine in the products and the chemicals in the vapor that is emitted. Despite this health concerns, a TINA.org review of more than 150 e-cigarette websites found that half indicate in some way that vaping products are safe or a healthy alternative to tobacco.
Potentially poisonous liquid: A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that the number of calls to poison centers regarding liquids containing nicotine used in e-cigarettes is dramatically rising. More than half involved children under 5 and 42 percent involved consumers aged 20 and over. “The report shows that e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine have the potential to cause immediate adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern,” the CDC said. Callers reported vomiting, nausea and eye irritation. Some consumers have also reported the products blowing up.