February 4, 2010, FDA managed to convince a federal appeals court to suspend a ruling of a federal court judge permitting the importations of individual vapor-emitting devices, better known as electronic cigarettes.
On February 1st FDA attorney filled an appeal to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for District of Columbia, asking to issue an injunctive order on the ruling of a lower court that banned the agency from detaining the importations of the devices on to the country.
A panel of three judges from the appeals court provisionally stayed the ruling of the federal court to get additional time to examine the Food and Drug Administration arguments claiming they have to cancel Judge Leon’s decision.
The FDA as well stated that it has legal authority to regulate products that contain nicotine solution in conformity with Federal Tobacco Control Act, approved by the Congress last June, including nicotine replacement therapies, like candies, spays and patches.
The agency had been dealing with electronic cigarettes during almost two years, and had persistently alleged that e-cigs are neither regulated, nor approved by scientists, and thus are not legal.
The FDA collaborated with US Customs to confiscate the shipments of electronic cigarettes mainly from China. The devices mimic parliament cigarettes and some of the samples even contained liquid nicotine solution, however they do not contain tar and CO. But, anti-smoking advocates were worried that the devices could hook people on nicotine, in the same way as ordinary tobacco products do.
The issue around electronic cigarettes demonstrates the real limits of FDA’s powers, so the agency are working together with public health organizations in order to convince everyone that giving e-cig sellers a green light to import their products might expose people to risk of severe health complications.
Judge, Richard J. Leon gave a preliminary ruling in January, prohibiting the US Food and Drug Administration from halting the shipments of the devices on US border. The decision came along with an injunction which allowed major Importers of electronic cigarettes to ship and sell their products across USA on a legal basis.
Judge confirmed he has not found an instant risk for public health from these devises. Nevertheless, while appealing Leon’s ruling, the FDA attorney claimed, the judge was misled by allegations of e-cig sellers, as nicotine, contained in e-cigarettes is a very harmful and poisonous substance.
The FDA states that electronic cigarettes should be officially examined by independent scientists prior to their sales in the country, in order to prove their safety for human consumption.
However, major importers, Smoking Everywhere and NJoy are eager to avoid such safety examinations, for unknown reason. The companies affirm their products are aimed for recreational use, and in contrast to sprays and patches, they are not nicotine-replacement therapies.
The attorney for the agency said that Judge Richard Leon was incorrect to suppose that electronic cigs could be regulated on the same basis as other products, subjected to regulations by Tobacco Control Act of 2009.
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