(CBS) — The Food and Drug Administration announced a new proposal this morning to begin regulating electronic cigarettes as well as pipe tobacco and cigars.
The Food and Drug Administration says it wants to reign-in e-cigarette manufacturers.
“It’s like the wild, wild west. Companies can do anything they want,” said FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg.
The battery powered devices allow users to inhale vaporized nicotine.
“We need to understand a lot more about how they’re being used and what are the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Hamburg
Once the FDA proposal is approved, new regulations will prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. They would be banned from vending machines, and would carry a warning label that nicotine is addictive.
Just like regular cigarette manufacturers, e-cigarette makers would also have to register with the FDA and provide a list of all ingredients that go into their products
Some lawmakers say this is long overdue, and like the FDA, they are particularly concerned about marketing to kids.
“There’s no reason to have bubble gum watermelon, e-cigarette. It’s the 31 flavors to getting kids addicted to nicotine,” says Cindy Chavez, a Santa Clara County, CA Supervisor.
Puneet Nanda, the founder of e-cigarette maker Rejuve, says the devices are safer than tobacco cigarettes. “I think this is a great product for people who are addicted to smoking, who just can’t live without it, who are already trying to quit,” he says.
The e-cigarette industry is expected to top one-billion dollars in sales in 2014.
A report last fall from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the number of middle school and high school students who tried electronic cigarettes doubled to nearly two million kids in 2012.