Within the span of less than a decade, electronic cigarettes have evolved from a niche product to one of the most popular ways to satisfy one’s nicotine cravings. In fact, sales of these devices have skyrocketed from just 50,000 in 2008 to more than 3.5 million in 2012. It’s estimated that one in five U.S. adult smokers have tried e-cigarettes today.
However, one Detroit Congresswoman isn’t as keen on e-cigarettes as many local residents.
According to the Detroit Free Press, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell is seeking stricter FDA regulations on e-cigarettes after one of the devices exploded in a Wyandotte man’s hand, severely injuring him.
In a letter to FDA acting commissioner Stephen Ostroff, Dingell, D-Dearborn, explained that the incident involving Jason Diekman — an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who suffered burns from the e-cigarette explosion — highlights the need for federal regulations on the devices. Dingell also noted that Diekman’s injury is just one of many similar incidents that have taken place across the country.
“Consumers deserve peace of mind in knowing the products they buy at the store are safe for use,” Dingell wrote. “Such assurances currently do not exist for electronic cigarettes due to the absence of federal regulation of these products.”
While the FDA has proposed rules regarding e-cigarettes, they haven’t yet passed, meaning e-cigarette regulations are largely determined by individual states. When passed, the FDA’s rules will regulate e-cigarettes much like tobacco cigarettes are regulated.
In her letter, Dingell pushed for FDA approval of certain brands of e-cigarettes already on the market. She also decried congressional opposition to the FDA’s proposed rules. Such regulations are necessary to protect American consumers from dangerous injuries, she said.
“It is my hope that this important regulation is finalized as soon as possible because every day we wait is another day that the American people are put at risk of using faulty products,” she wrote.