Nightly News   |  April 24, 2014

Amid Safety Concerns, FDA Aims to Regulate E-Cigarettes

The government announced the first steps toward regulating e-cigarettes, which are growing in popularity.

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>>> the federal government today announced the first steps toward regulating e-cigarettes. they are growing in popularity, especially among those trying to quit traditional cigarettes. the fda needs to know much more about the risks and so far they say they don't know much. the report from tom.

>> reporter: they are springing up across the country, vapor bars, many trying to wean themselves off tobacco. in los angeles , the liquid nicotine business is booming.

>> it's liquid.

>> i have green tea lemonade, like a pineapple peach.

>> reporter: fueled by a massive marketing campaign.

>> i've been a smoker for 20 years.

>> reporter: sale haves taken off $2 billion last year and growing. now for the first time, the fda is preparing to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco prohibiting sales to minors, free sample handouts and vending machine sales requiring manufacturers to provide a full list of the chemical insgregredients and nicotine warning labels.

>> we don't know as much about the safety of e-cigarettes. we want to regulate them to get the information we need about what is in them.

>> reporter: with 250 different brands on the market, regulation is a must, ultimately providing the end user with a product that is consistent. unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarette makers will be allowed to advertise on tv, and for now, the fda will permit the sale of flavored varieties which many consumer add vocates say are to attract young people . they warn highly addictive nicotine still isn't regulated.

>> there are some of these products that deliver a very high content of nicotine, far, far higher than smoking several cigarettes.

>> reporter: it's the vapor clouds themself that led many cities to ban ecigs. the concerns are there are chemicals in the vapors that could be toxic to the people inhaling or nearby. by knowing what they are, they will learn whether they are harmful.

>> come costel t -- tom costello on that.