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FDA Considers Warning for e-Cigarettes, Liquid Nicotine

As smoking rates drop, tobacco companies rush into e-cigarette market

The FDA is seeking additional data and comments on liquid nicotine as it considers warning the public about the dangers of its exposure amid a rise in electronic cigarette use.

The agency has evaluated data and science on the risks, especially to infants and children, from accidental exposure to nicotine and liquid nicotine that is used in e-cigarettes, according to a report from Reuters.

In June, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that more Americans are using e-cigarettes and other vaporizing devices than a year ago.

The surge in e-cigarette use comes as conventional cigarette smoking has declined in the U.S. to about 19% of adults, prompting tobacco companies to rush into the e-cigarette market.

Among high school students, e-cigarette use jumped to 13.4% in 2014 from 4.5% in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette use over the same period in this age group fell to 9.2% from 12.7% –– the largest year-over-year decline in more than a decade.

Recent increases in calls and visits to poison control centers and emergency rooms involving liquid nicotine poisoning have raised public health concerns, the FDA said. As a result, the agency is considering whether, based on the acute toxicity of nicotine (up to and including nicotine poisoning), it would be appropriate to warn the public about the dangers of nicotine exposure, especially due to inadvertent nicotine exposure in infants and children, and/or to require that some tobacco products be sold in child-resistant packaging.

Chapter IX of the Tobacco Control Act, enacted in June 2009, provides the FDA with the authority to regulate tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and “any other tobacco products that the Secretary of Health and Human Services by regulation deems to be subject to this chapter.”

Sources: Reuters; June 30, 2015; and FDA; June 30, 2015.

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