Late 2006 Electronic cigarettes first marketed in U.S. via kiosks in shopping malls and online.

Early 2009 E cigarette sellers sue the Food and Drug Administration after the agency told customs officials to refuse entry of shipments into U.S.

June 2009 The Food and Drug Administration said testing of products from two leading electronic cigarette makers turned up several toxic chemicals, including a key ingredient in antifreeze.

January 2010 Federal judge rules that the FDA can’t stop those shipments, saying the agency had overstepped its authority.

December 2010 Federal appeals court rules e cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products by the FDA rather than as drug delivery devices.

February 2011 U.S. Department of Transportation prohibits use of e cigarettes on commercial airlines.

April 2011 FDA announces plans to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

July 2011 FDA announces intent to have e cigarette regulations proposed by October 2011.

April 2012 Lorillard Inc., the nation’s third biggest tobacco company, buys Blu Ecigs.

Summer 2012 No. 2 tobacco company Reynolds American Inc. begins limited distribution of first electronic cigarette under Vuse brand.

February 2013 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases study showing increased awareness and use of electronic cigarettes in the U.S.

March 2013 Former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Richard Carmona joins board of directors for e cigarette maker NJOY Inc.

July 2013 Reynolds American launches test market of revamped version of Vuse e cigarette.

August 2013 Subsidiary of Altria Group Inc., owner of the nation’s biggest tobacco company, Philip Morris USA, launches test market first e cigarette under MarkTen brand name.

September 2013 CDC releases study showing growing use of e cigarettes by middle and high school students.

End of 2013 Sales of e cigarettes reach nearly $2 billion with more than 200 brands.

April 24, 2014 FDA issues proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes.

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Fda outlines plan to regulate e-cigarettes

Midday report: marlboro maker moves into e-cigarettes – dailyfinance

Today s action is about expanding FDA s authority to products that have been rapidly evolving with no regulation whatsoever, in order to create a foundation for broader regulation in the future, he said. It creates the framework. We re calling this the first step. . . . For the first time, there will be a science based, independent regulatory agency playing a vital gate keeping function.

Zeller and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg discussed outlines of the proposal with reporters yesterday under an agreement that no details would be published until this morning.

E cigarettes vary from brand to brand, but they generally resemble the size and shape of traditional cigarettes. Instead of burning tobacco, the battery powered devices heat up flavored, nicotine laced liquid, turning it into a vapor that the user inhales. Supporters argue that makes e cigarettes an attractive alternative to their cancer causing tobacco counterparts.

Congress passed a law in 2009 giving the FDA broad power to regulate cigarettes, including requirements for new warning labels, restrictions on ads and explicit approval of new products. The law also gave the FDA authority to broaden its jurisdiction over other tobacco related products. While the agency has long indicated that it planned to do just that, action has been slow in coming.

In the absence of any meaningful regulation, the e cigarette manufacturers have acted as if it s the wild, wild West, with no rules and no restraints, said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, who had not seen the particulars of the FDA proposal. Their advertising is exactly the same type of advertising that made cigarettes so appealing to young people decades ago.

Whatever changes are coming won t happen overnight. The public will have 75 days to comment on the proposal. After the FDA sorts through a likely tidal wave of responses and finalizes its regulations, companies will have to begin complying almost immediately with the proposed age and identification restrictions. But they will have two years to submit applications to the FDA to approve their products, which can remain on the market in the meantime.

The FDA s effort to begin overseeing the sprawling e cigarette market comes at a critical time. Sales have doubled year after year, with no signs of slowing, according to some industry analysts. That pales in comparison to the estimated $80 billion a year U.S. market for conventional tobacco products, but the gap is shrinking steadily. In addition, tobacco giants such as Lorillard, Reynolds and Altria have entered the e cigarette market in recent years, joining hundreds of smaller manufacturers.

The move toward federal regulation also comes amid an impassioned debate over simple questions that so far have no simple answer Will e cigarettes eventually cause more people or fewer to smoke? Will the devices emerge as a healthier alternative that make cigarettes obsolete, or will they act as a gateway to smoking and undermine a half century of efforts to reduce tobacco related deaths, which still kill an estimated 480,000 Americans annually?

There s such a huge debate over whether e cigarettes are a good thing or a bad thing for public health, said Kenneth Warner, a tobacco researcher and professor of public health at the University of Michigan. But we re in a kind of factual vacuum. There are not that many (reliable) studies. . . . We really don t know the right answer.

Warner, who had not seen the proposal, said the FDA will have to walk a fine line in the way it treats e cigarettes. On one hand, the agency must set reasonable restrictions, such as keeping nicotine delivery devices out of the hands of minors and creating safe manufacturing standards. On the other hand, if e cigarettes do hold the potential to help some people quit smoking, the agency doesn t want to stymie innovation and crush an industry that s quickly evolving.

It s a tricky balance, Warner said. Even in an environment devoid of politics and lawsuits, it would be a challenge to come up with the right mix of regulations. . . . Figuring out how to do this is going to be hard, and it isn t going to happen quickly.

The cigar and e cigarette industries have long been preparing for the inevitability of federal regulation and working hard to try to shape it. For example, makers of premium cigars have been lobbying intensely to not be lumped in with the fruit flavored, corner store varieties that public health experts say target kids a distinction FDA officials have said they are willing to consider.

E cigarette executives have been every bit as aggressive, making their case over the past year in meetings with FDA regulators, members of Congress and state and local officials, seeking to avoid some of the stringent rules that govern conventional cigarettes. In essence, they have argued that e cigarette vapor is far less harmful than cigarette smoke, with its cancer causing toxins, and can actually help smokers kick the habit. Therefore, the manufacturers say, they should be subject to kinder, gentler oversight and lower taxes than traditional cigarettes.

At the same time, manufacturers have been fighting growing regulation in cities and states. Numerous cities, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Boston, have banned e cigarettes in public places, and dozens of state attorneys general have urged federal regulators to speed up restrictions on marketing the devices to young people.

The e cigarette industry also has faced questions about the safety and accessibility of its products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this month that calls to poison centers involving e cigarettes have surged in recent years as the products have gained in popularity, with most of the incidents involving children younger than 6 who have accidentally ingested the liquid nicotine.