Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  |  August 13, 2014

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The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 empowered the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco, the leading preventable cause of death. The agency, however, initially exercised authority only over specific tobacco products: cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own (loose tobacco), and smokeless tobacco. This decision left other forms of tobacco unregulated. Five years later, in April 2014, the FDA sought to close this regulatory gap by issuing proposed rules—referred to as “deeming”—to regulate electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (hookah) tobacco, and orally ingested dissolvable tobacco products. The proposed rules represent a watershed moment in tobacco control but do not go far enough in regulating e-cigarettes, a product with uncertain benefits and potentially significant harms.

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