Will e-cigarettes get vaporized by the federal government?

Picture of female model with electronic cigarette
The FDA is accepting comments on proposed new regulations for electronic cigarettes. Photo credit: Michael Dorausch via Wikimedia Commons and Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

The Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules Friday to regulate how and where electronic cigarettes can be sold. What follows is a 75-day period where the public, including affected parties, can submit comments to steer the way final regulations will be written and implemented.

That means there’s a smoking-hot new regs process to watch, and Sunlight’s Docket Wrench will help make your surveillance easier and smarter.

A number of large and very influential organizations and corporations have already shown interest in how the burgeoning e-cigarette business will be regulated. Altria (Phillip Morris’s parent company and e-cigarette manufacturer), the American Lung Association and Njoy (another e-cigarette manufacturer) are just a few of the entities that have reported lobbying Congress on this issue.

According to the Senate Office of Public Records, at least 21 groups have reported spending more than $9 million combined on issues including the regulation of the multi-billion dollar e-cigarette industry since 2009. Altria reported spending $2.2 million during the first quarter of 2014 alone on 14 issues. All but two of those issues are clearly related to the taxation and regulation of smoking and tobacco.

In addition to e-cigarettes, the proposed rules will also cover cigars and pipe tobacco -– all products that have long been unregulated by the FDA.

To see who’s submitting comments and to identify trends or form letter campaigns, use the Sunlight Foundation’s Docket Wrench. It analyzes the language of comments for similarities and creates graphical displays to help you group and analyze comments as they arrive.