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WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) deeming rule regulating electronic cigarettes has been in effect for nearly nine months; however, that could change under proposed legislation.
On April 27, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) introduced the Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act, legislation creating a new regulatory framework for vaping products that no longer subjects them to controls imposed under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
That 2009 act gave the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products.
According to the federal lawmaker, the legislation underscores the uniqueness of vaping technology and products, and advances vaping as a widely recognized life-saving alternative to traditional tobacco use.
"This bill is the way forward for smokers who want to quit smoking and vapers who enjoy vaping," Hunter said. "No less important, this bill will set the vaping industry on a solid path for decades to come and require consideration of the harm reduction benefits associated with vaping."
He added that regulating vapor products similar to tobacco products, "ignores the fact that countless Americans are turning to this one alternative to reduce their urge to smoke cigarettes or quit once and for all."
The existing structure under the deeming rule also hurts small businesses that sell the products, Duncan noted.
Specifically, the Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act separates personal electronic vaping devices and e-liquids from the FDA deeming regulation. Under the legislation, e-liquids would be regulated by the FDA using commonly accepted industry manufacturing standards.
The bill also establishes standards for vaping hardware and batteries to protect consumers. One year after enactment, all e-liquids and vaping hardware must conform to manufacturing standards within the bill, according to Duncan.
The legislation also requires the FDA to consider harm reduction within the scope of the Tobacco Control Act.
The FDA released the final deeming rule one year ago on May 5 and it went into effect on Aug. 8. The rule extended the agency's authority to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, as CSNews Online previously reported.