WASHINGTON (Feb. 18, 2016) – Congress should act to pass legislation to keep e-cigarettes and other vaping products on the market, as their removal would jeopardize millions of smokers’ ability to switch to less harmful alternatives, according to a new policy short published by the R Street Institute.

The Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate e-cigarettes or selected other tobacco-related products. However, the agency could exercise its jurisdiction under a 2009 law that would force products introduced since February 2007, even those currently on the market, to undergo an extensive and costly approval process before they could be sold.

“Because today’s e-cig and related vapor products were all introduced to the market after 2007, each and every e-cig product – categorized separately by brand, flavor and strength of nicotine – will be required to incur substantial costs to avoid removal from the market,” writes Dr. Joel Nitzkin, senior fellow of the R Street Institute. “Congress should act now to shift the grandfather date from 2007 to the effective date of the new deeming regulations to allow these lifesaving products to remain on the market without interruption.”

A bill currently before the U.S. House, H.R. 4371 would accomplish this by setting the grandfather date to coincide with the final deeming regulation. It also would bring currently marketed e-cigarettes under FDA jurisdiction without requiring costly applications and interruptions to consumers.

“Laying a destructive and undue cost burden on less harmful and less addictive products that could draw consumers away from cigarettes does not protect public health,” Nitzkin writes.