We’ve followed the debate about the pros and cons of e-cigarettes for quite some time now. Two courts recently weighed in on the side of those against vaping. Maybe the courts recognized concerns raised in several studies about bystander exposure to toxic substances in e-cig vapor.
Judges upheld regulations set by the FDA and U.S. Department of Transportation in cases partially triggered by anti-vaping petitions. The rulings by two separate courts mean that e-cigarettes will now fall under many of the same FDA and DOT regulations as conventional cigarettes.
Vaping devices will now be classified in the same category as tobacco products, despite the fact they don’t contain tobacco. That rule prohibits sales of those devices to minors. It also requires package warning labels and that products be reviewed by the government before going on the market.
The court clearly backed the FDA’s regulation. “[I]t was reasonable for the agency to conclude that vaping should no longer be completely unregulated, given the marked increase in use, the absence of any regulation of the products and manufacturers in the market,” said the judge.
Those who argue e-cigs are unsafe hope these stricter regulations will result in a decline in their use. Another result could be fewer products on the market that are manufactured carelessly, often overseas, with little or no quality control.
Coincidentally, that same day the DOT’s ban on use of e-cigs on commercial flights was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The ban on smokeless cigarettes is the same as that for conventional tobacco products.
Of course, opponents of the regulation argue that vaping doesn’t product smoke. However, the court ruled that while e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke, the word smoking can refer to processes where no smoke is produced. The DOT set that regulation out of concerns that e-cig vapors contain potentially harmful chemicals and, at the very least, may cause discomfort to other passengers.
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