Electronic cigarettes to be regulated like real cigarettes

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istockphoto
electronic cigarette, smoking, smoke, stop smoking, stock, 4x3
istockphoto

(CBS) If you believe electronic cigarette makers, their product looks, feels and smokes like a real cigarette. And it turns out, they will be regulated like a cigarette, which is exactly what they wanted.

The FDA had sought to regulate the product as a drug delivery device, giving them authority to demand manufacturers prove their products are safe. But an appeals court struck that idea down last December saying as long as electronic cigarettes aren't marketed as therapeutic devices, they can't be regulated like them.

In a letter, the FDA said they won't fight the ruling and instead will focus on providing guidance for the industry.

Electronic cigarettes, or "e-cigarettes," are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the "smoker" inhales. A tiny light on the tip even glows like a real cigarette.

Many smokers consider them a healthier way to wean themselves off of cigarettes. And that's big business. Last year Americans spent $1.2 billion on smoking cessation products, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As many as one in five American still smoke, according to the agency.