Congressional Debate On E-Cigarettes Lights Up 10 years After FDA Tobacco Law

Industry critics want to ban the flavored varieties of liquid nicotine

A decade after Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, there is a growing sense that the law should be revisited to address a product that lawmakers barely knew about in June 2009: electronic cigarettes.

The tension lies in how to balance e-cigarettes’ potential benefits with their clear risks. While e-cigarettes may offer a less harmful alternative for adults who smoke combustible cigarettes, they can appeal to young people who never would have smoked.

Industry critics want to ban the flavored varieties of liquid nicotine that fuel e-cigarettes and attract nonsmokers. On the other hand, those who view e-cigarettes, or vaping, as a safer alternative to cigarettes fear FDA rules would effectively ban the products and drive millions to traditional tobacco.

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