The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to authorize a study of e-cigarette sales and marketing, potentially injecting itself into a contentious debate that will become more intense in the coming months when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to adopt a final rule regulating electronic cigarettes and vapor/liquid nicotine products.
The FDA and FTC have long shared responsibility to regulate tobacco products. The FDA regulates the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products, while the FTC has jurisdiction over unfair and deceptive practices and advertisements of tobacco products. Many travel centers and truckstops sell e-cigarettes and related products, so the potential for additional regulations over their marketing and sale could have real impacts on NATSO members.
The FDA issued a proposed rule regulating e-cigarettes in 2014. That rule would extend the Agency's authority over traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes. (NATSO's summary of FDA's regulation's over traditional cigarettes can be found here
. NATSO's summary of the proposed regulation governing e-cigarettes can be found here
It is expected to be finalized this year.
The FTC has been gathering information from cigarette and smokeless tobacco manufacturers and issuing an annual report since 1967, which tobacco-control advocates say helps inform effective regulation and efforts to counter tobacco advertising.
Tobacco advertising restrictions are often drafted in a manner that catches retailers in the crossfire, imposing liability on them when the responsibility for compliance belongs on manufacturers of tobacco products. NATSO and its members take tobacco sales restrictions seriously, but retailers should not be held responsible for conduct that they do not control. NATSO will continue to closely follow and advocate on these issues.
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