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Some Oregonians Shrug At New FDA E-Cigarette Rules

A Food and Drug Administration announcement assuming regulatory authority over e-cigarettes has been met with a shrug in Oregon as some local authorities have already taken action.

The FDA’s new rules ban e-cigarette sales to kids, ensure they carry health warnings and force manufacturers to submit new products for government review.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said use among students over the past five years has skyrocketed from 1 percent to 16 percent, “These numbers are concerning because we know nicotine is addictive.”

But here in Oregon, Multnomah County already prohibits minors from buying e-cigarettes and it's illegal to use them indoors as it’s considered a violation of the Clean Air Act.

Still, the director of the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division Lillian Shirley said, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a critical step today and finalized a rule establishing oversight for all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars and hookahs."

She said that cigarette use in Oregon has declined as regulations have limited flavors, labeling and marketing.

"However, there has been little regulation of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookah and cigars, and use is on the rise among Oregon's youth," Shirley said. "These FDA historic regulations improve public health and protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use."

The Vapor Technology Association called the new federal regulations a one-size-fits-all approach that will devastate small vapor businesses.

It said vapor products are a game-changing technology in the campaign to reduce cigarette smoking.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.