FDA calls for stricter e-cigarette regulations

E-cigarettes are growing in popularity, especially among young people. Now the FDA wants to regulate their production and sale.

The federal government announced the first steps towards regulating e-cigarettes Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration says it needs to know much more about the risks associated with their use.

The Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition agrees.

â??We've been needing this so that there can be more clarity about exactly what the product is, whether it should be regulated, how it should be handled,â?? said Lisa Danto with the Coalition.

Danto, a registered nurse and a tobacco addiction specialist, said itâ??s good that the FDA is getting serious about regulation.

â??I want to make sure they know the current and correct information because they're getting a lot of wrong information on those websites. They're doing a lot of false advertising which has no basis, even saying it will help you quit smoking. The FDA asked for their evidence and they did not produce it,â?? said Danto.

More and more young people are joining the e-cigarette craze, making some question who exactly the products are being marketed for.

â??We'll have ten-year-olds walking by with e-cigarettes trying to buy them. It's shocking,â?? said Robert Richardson, from A Clean Cigarette in Traverse City.

Richardson said even though there are no requirements legally, they do not sell e-cigarettes to minors in their stores.

â??We don't do tutti frutti. Or mango twist. Or macchiato. We do cigar flavors. We're not here to be fun. We're here to stop this disgusting disease,â?? explained Richardson.

A Clean Cigarette staff work alongside smokers to help them move from tobacco filled cigarettes to electronic.

â??They are hurting from tobacco; they've spent tons of money on tobacco. They're the people that need to get away from it the most. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco in any shape or form, they do contain nicotine,â?? said Richardson.

A Clean Cigarette plans to grow into a coffee shop where customers can come to get help and support from fellow smokers trying to kick the tobacco habit with e-cigarettes.

Richardson is all for regulation. A Clean Cigarette tests its products and wants to make sure other companies follow safe practices too.

â??We want an analysis done on every single liquid solution in the United States, and those coming into the U.S.,â?? explained Richardson.

Until more studies are done, health professionals are leery of the ramifications of the growing trend.

â??Not enough research is known because there are other options for people, across the board, those of us who do this work have been told we cannot recommend it,â?? said Danto.

At this point in time, e-cigarettes can be used indoors, unless an establishment chooses not to allow them.

Danto worries that people could be subjected to harmful chemicals despite the existence of the indoor air law.

â??Some states, like Michigan, our definition of tobacco was before these products existed so they could basically say this doesn't fit the definition so you can do it,â?? said Danto.

The FDA is proposing rules that call for strict regulation of more than just electronic cigarettes.

The proposal also includes cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water pipe tobacco, and hookahs.

The recommendations will be finalized following a 75-day public comment period.