The Food and Drug Administration for months has vowed to crack down on the sales and marketing practices of e-cigarette companies. Now the regulatory agency says it plans to propose rules for makers of the products as early as this month.
The policies will have big implications for a fast-growing, largely unregulated industry and its legions of customers.
If the regulations are too strict, they could kill an industry that offers the hope a safer alternative to cigarettes that could potentially help smokers quit. But the agency also has to be sure e-cigarettes really are safer and aren’t hooking children on an addictive drug.
“This is a very complicated issue and we must be quite careful how we proceed,” said David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the American Legacy Foundation, in a recent panel discussion. “I call this sort of the Goldilocks approach. The regulation must be just right. The porridge can’t be too hot, and it can’t be too cold.”