Sci-fi smokes: Evolving e-cigarette technology may make developing industry standards tougher
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Just a few years ago, early adopters of e-cigarettes got their fix by clumsily screwing together a small battery and a plastic cartridge containing cotton soaked with nicotine.
Now, the battery-powered contraptions have computer chips to regulate puffs and temperature, track usage, talk to other electronic devices and even blink when "vapers" are near each other.
Federal officials say the technology race could make creating standards the devices, which heat a liquid to create vapor rather than burning tobacco, more difficult in the future. Unlike traditional smokes that are simply chopped tobacco rolled in paper with a filter, e-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and the technological changes only make regulating them more of a headache.
At the same time, a rapidly growing market for e-cigarettes and the possibility that the devices could be safer than regular cigarettes have some in the industry worried that regulation that's too heavy-handed would stifle the technological innovation — and their businesses.
"I think it's fair to say that there will always be some degree of a gap between (data) and the latest innovations," Mitch Zeller, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "But that's the beauty of regulation because over time, regulation closes that gap. ... We will get to a point where new products have to come through us first."
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted on Tue, December 9, 2014
by Associated Press