E-cigarettes are expected to become regulated by the FDA; teens usage doubles

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Federal regulators are turning their attention to what they call an unregulated tobacco product.

The electronic cigarette industry is booming among all groups, including teens.

According to the cigarette companies, the new smokeless product doesn't have as many chemicals as regular cigarettes.

The reason the FDA will categorize them as a tobacco product is because the vaporized nicotine used in the e-cigarettes is made from tobacco leaves.

The Missouri department of health and senior services reports nearly 10,000 people each year in the state die from tobacco related illnesses.

That is why tobacco companies are now making e-cigs and hoping they are the way of the future for current cigarette smokers.

"I'd like to quit smoking, I've been smoking for 30 years and I just want to live a longer life," said Russell Ransdell, an e-cig owner.

Ransdell is trading in his packs of cigarettes for an "e-cig."

Part of the draw for customers, an e-cigarette is the new alternative to the traditional cigarette which is widely banned.

"And i'm hoping this does the trick," Arnsdell said.

Aqueous Vapor, a local e-cig smoke shop agrees.

Customers are coming in looking for a different option to their smoking addictions.

"People use them to you know, as an alternative to smoking. they are a better alternative to smoking. they definitely work," Merek LaGrand, store owner, said.

LeGrand says it's because of the less harmful chemicals found in the product.

"This is a fairly new product, but any of the new studies were seeing are definitely saying that this is a better alternative," said LeGrand.

But federal regulators are now catching on to its popularity.

LeGrand doesn't have to follow any regulations when he sells his product, but sets his owns regulations.

"We don't sell to anyone under the age of 18. I know there is no regulation currently but we want to keep things more and ethical in our community," LeGrand said.

Another reason the FDA is possibly moving forward on regulations is because of a CDC survey which showed the number of teens using e-cigarettes has doubled in the past year.

In a new study by the CDC, high schoolers and middle schoolers are using e-cigarettes twice as much as last year.

Ten percent of high schools say they've tried an e-cig, while nearly three percent of middle schoolers have experimented with the battery powered device.

It is a shared fear by that e-cigs could be a gateway to nicotine addiction.

FDA regulation could come as early as next month.

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