Thank you for contacting me to express your views about electronic cigarettes. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome this opportunity to respond.
As you know, electronic cigarettes, or "e-cigarettes," typically contain liquid nicotine which is vaporized and inhaled by the user. I recognize that these devices have become popular in recent years and that some individuals have been able to use them successfully as smoking cessation aids.
While I am a strong supporter of smoking cessation aids, I believe it is important that consumers have accurate information about their safety and effectiveness. Nicotine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug, and some public health groups have expressed concern that e-cigarettes may be marketed to children and other vulnerable populations as a "safe" alternative to traditional cigarettes. In addition, there is a lack of research about the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation aids and about the safety of these products, some of which have been found to contain traces of toxic chemicals. Courts have ruled that e-cigarette manufacturers must submit evidence of a product's safety and effectiveness in controlling cigarette cravings before advertising an e-cigarette for this purpose.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law in 2009, gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products. In addition, the Act gave the FDA authority to issue a "deeming rule" making other tobacco-containing products subject to FDA regulation. To date, the FDA has not issued a "deeming rule" for electronic cigarettes, and these products remain unregulated by the FDA.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act also requires that the FDA investigate new ways to ensure the safety and effectiveness of smoking cessation products, and to promote their use. On December 17, 2012, the FDA held a public hearing and invited comments via its website about smoking cessation. After reviewing these comments, the FDA will issue a report to Congress with proposals about ways to promote smoking cessation products and ensure their safety. Please know that I have made note of your support for e-cigarettes, and will keep it in mind as I review the FDA's report.
Again, thank you for writing. If you have additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at United States Senator Dianne Feinstein. Best regards.
United States Senator