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US Appellate Court Decides: FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Products

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it would go along with a federal appellate court decision to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

The FDA had wished to regulate the instruments as drug devices the same way nicotine gum and smoking cessation products are regulated.  The FDA maintains that e-cigarettes are not safer than smoking cigarettes, as their makers and distributors often promote.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided in January that the battery-powered nicotine-delivery devices should be regulated as tobacco products instead. 

Drug device regulations would have required the product to go through pre-market approval. 

Tobacco product regulation prohibits e-cigarettes from being marketed with other FDA-regulated products like food, cosmetics, medical devices or dietary supplements.

Often marketed as a smoking alternative to aid quitting, the FDA argued that e-cigarettes could be regulated as a medical device. But the court rejected this claim, saying that e-cigarettes are not marketed as smoking cessation devices, and therefore could not be considered medical devices.

E-cigarettes will now be subject to ingredient listing, user fees and registration requirements, in addition to several others.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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