Makers of electronic cigarettes such as Lorillard Inc. (LO) and Altria Group Inc. will for the first time face regulatory oversight, including passing a review to stay on the market, under a U.S. plan that doesn’t ban TV ads or flavored versions of the new products.
The Food and Drug Administration today proposed to extend its reach over the tobacco industry to include the $3 billion market for e-cigarettes such as NJOY and blu, as well as cigars. The rules, if made final, will prohibit sales to minors, ban free samples and require nicotine addiction warnings.
Consumer groups have said e-cigarette companies use candy flavors, TV ads and music festival sponsor-ships to target youth, who doubled their use of the products in 2012 from a year earlier. Agency officials called today’s proposal a foundation that may lead to tighter control in the future.
“For the first time there will be a science-based, independent regulatory agency providing gate-keeping,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a briefing. “The regulator will finally be doing its job.”
Industry representatives reacted positively to the proposal.
“This is not a sort of trenched-in, battlefield mentality,” Miguel Martin, president of e-cigarette maker Logic, said in an interview. “ We want to work with the FDA.”
Martin and Jeff Holman, president and co-founder of Vapor Corp., were upbeat about the FDA’s plan.