Smokeless electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” will not be regulated as a drug-delivery device, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
If the FDA had opted to classify e-cigarettes as a “drug-delivery device,” it would have placed the new product under a much stricter regulatory regime. Instead, by classifying e-cigarettes as a tobacco product, they will be much more loosely regulated.
The announcement comes as a major victory for companies involved in the production and sale of c-cigarettes, which are rapidly growing in popularity.
First introduced in 2002, e-cigarettes already have millions of users worldwide and is continuing a rapid pace of growth.
Proponents of e-cigarettes argue they are much less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, in that they have fewer chemicals and do not have as big of a second hand smoke risk.
E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid nicotine solution in a plastic or metal device shaped like a cigarette. A vapor is then created that the user inhales, thereby depositing nicotine into the bloodstream.
Photo credit: kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/tobacco/facts/ecigs.aspx