"At the present time, the FDA does not have the authority to regulate E-Cigarettes and some have characterized it frankly as the wild wild west," says Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. And certainly we feel that at the present time it is 'let the buyer beware.'"
The FDA's proposed regulations would put E-Cigarettes in the same class as tobacco which would mean prohibiting sales to anyone under 18, requiring clear health warning labels and prohibiting vending machine sales.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control shows a surge in the number of liquid nicotine poisoning from E-Cigarettes. The report reveals that calls to poison control centers about E-Cigarettes have gone up from about one call a month from September 2010 to more than 200 as of this February.
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor is also part of the push to keep E-Cigs out of the hands of children. On Thursday, he issued a new response to the FDA's latest call to action.
Over the past month, Pryor has called on the FDA to take action to protect Arkansas children from liquid nicotine poisoning. Liquid nicotine vials are used to refill e-cigarettes and often come in colorful packaging and flavors ranging from chocolate to Scooby Snacks.
"As I’ve said from the beginning, I believe child-proof packaging is a common-sense measure we should take to address this dangerous problem and prevent the staggering increase of liquid nicotine poisoning cases in our young children. As Chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I look forward to sitting down with the FDA and industry leaders in the coming days to tackle this problem head on and reach a responsible solution that will keep our kids safe."
In the meantime, local E-Cig sellers likeNext Vapor Spot in Fayetteville say they're behind the federal push for more regulations on liquid nicotine.
"Honestly, I hope they do regulate the liquid," says store manager Anthony Keith. "The e-liquid needs to be regulated, it needs to be clean and they need to make sure everything that's in there is safe. It's illegal to buy cigarettes so it just makes sense to be of age to do that. It's not a product with any kind of regulation on it right now. So we are one of the few where you do have to be 18 to buy from us."
It could take a year or longer for the FDA's initial rules to take effect. One important note though, they do not ban flavored E-Cigarettes, which many believe are only meant to attract young people. And they do not ban online sales or TV commercials.