U.S. House bill would exempt e-cigarettes from tobacco regulations

A bill expected this week in the U.S. House of Representatives would weaken a Food and Drug Administration rule governing e-cigarettes and represent a major victory for the $4.4 billion U.S. vaping industry.

The bill, from Republican Representative Duncan Hunter of California, would reverse the Obama administration's "Deeming Rule" which deems e-cigarettes to be tobacco products, subject to the same strict regulations governing traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes heat nicotine-laced liquid into vapor but do not contain tobacco.

Hunter's bill, which was reviewed by Reuters, would exempt vaping devices from many of those rules, including a requirement that new products be reviewed and authorized by the FDA before being sold. E-cigarette makers say the process is too expensive and would prevent smokers from gaining access to the products.

The bill adds momentum to a series of legal and legislative efforts by tobacco and vaping companies to derail the FDA rule, though it is unclear how much support it will garner.

The move comes as President Donald Trump's administration is cutting regulations across the board and as Congress is poised to confirm Dr. Scott Gottlieb to lead the FDA. Gottlieb, who held a financial interest in the vape shop Kure, said e-cigarettes in certain circumstances may be a good alternative for smokers.
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