SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

April 30, 2014

E-cig sellers look to a future of regulations

(Continued)

Logue himself said he’s been smoking for about a decade, and now relies on e-cigarettes as much as he can. Many people now try to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes and slowly reducing the amount of nicotine in the liquids they vaporize, the end goal being to reach a point where they’re vaporizing liquids without any nicotine at all.

E-cigarettes are also helpful for people who smoke because they allow users to imitate the physical act of smoking, Logue said.

“Mostly, a smoking habit is the smoking part,” he said.

Still, that’s not to say making the switch to vapors — or the subsequent step-down — is easy.

“I’m still smoking sometimes,” Logue said. “It’s hard for me.”

In turning its attention to e-cigarettes, the FDA is acknowledging their growing popularity. Both Kelleher and Logue say they believe the number of people seeking e-cigarettes is only going to increase in upcoming years.

“It’s going to boom,” Logue said. “It’s definitely getting more popular.”

“Right now, it’s pretty open, there’s only a handful of us around,” said Kelleher. “Out West, there’s one on every corner.”

The regulations for e-cigarettes are part of a wider effort by the FDA to bring more tobacco and nicotine-related products under its control. Currently, the organization regulates cigarettes and cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. Along with e-cigarettes, it plans to start regulating cigars, pipe and waterpipe tobacco, nicotine gels and dissolvables.

Saying the “tobacco product marketplace is evolving at a dizzying space,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg pointed out in a recent blog post that there are still “many unanswered questions” about the health effects of products like e-cigarettes.

“Especially in the shadow of alarming increases in the number of youths using unregulated products like electric cigarettes and cigars, it’s more crucial than ever to help prevent early tobacco use that could lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” Hamburg said.

On its website, the FDA has said that whether or not e-cigarettes have risks or benefits is an issue that needs further study. Also, it said, “it is unknown whether e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes.”

The FDA hasn’t said when the new regulations will take effect.

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Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at ndempsey@salemnews.com.

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