U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ruled earlier today (14 January 2010) that the FDA does not have authority to seize shipments of e-cigs because they do not qualify as devices that come under the agencies jurisdiction.
The specific case consisted of electronic cigarette manufacturers, Njoy and Smoking Everywhere, Inc. bringing the FDA under suit for seizure of their shipments in the late summer/early fall of 2008. Judge Leon found that the FDA’s interpretation of the law giving them authority to seize shipments of electronic cigarettes was “unreasonable and unacceptable.” The agency had previously made the case that they seized the shipments under their authority to regulate drugs and non-related medical devices.
Electronic cigarettes consist of an atomizer that uses a battery to produce a vapor that is inhaled by the smoker containing flavoring and varying levels of nicotine content. When a smoker uses an electronic cigarette, no second hand smoke is produced, and the toxins found in traditional tobacco cigarettes are not present. Most e-cig company’s products also light up on the tip of the e-cig when a smoker inhales on the device to give a similar appearance of smoking.