The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to issue a proposed rule about electronic cigarettes very soon.
There is currently a relative lack of regulations on the use of e-cigarettes. The case-by-case handling by employers and municipalities across the country could change, but that depends on whether the FDA decides to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.
The agency is concerned about public health issues because most e-cigarette products give users a nicotine fix.
“The FDA intends to propose a regulation that would extend the agency’s ‘tobacco-product’ authorities — which currently only apply to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco — to other categories of tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of ‘tobacco product,'” said FDA press officer Jenny Haliski.
Until the regulations are set, most e-cigarette users in the U.S. are legally free to “smoke,” which is actually a process of heating a chemical solution inside the device and emitting a smoke-like vapor upon exhaling.
E-cigarette vapor doesn’t smell like tobacco smoke, and there’s no evidence that others have second-hand health effects caused by e-cigarettes. The nicotine liquid in e-cigarettes also doesn’t contain common cigarette ingredients such as tar, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, cyanide, formaldehyde and ammonia.