MINNEAPOLIS — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it plans to begin a study of the U.S. sales and marketing of electronic cigarettes. To conduct the study, the agency would issue information requests to e-cigarette marketers and would use the information as a basis for a report on the sales, marketing activities, and expenditures in the e-cigarette industry.
Before conducting the study, the FTC must obtain permission from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect information from the e-cigarette marketers, which is the first step toward conducting the study. The FTC would then publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the proposed collection of information from approximately five large and ten smaller e-cigarette marketers. The FTC announcement states that it will seek comments on the following topics:
- The need for the study and the practical utility of the information collected.
- Whether the FTC should seek to collect data according to: 1) the various types of products sold by industry members; 2) the various flavors and nicotine strengths of the products sold; 3) the various sizes and given away; and 4) whether the company sells directly to consumers or to wholesalers and distributors.
- Whether industry members can provide data that distinguishes between, among other things: 1) direct sales to consumers (e.g., online sales) and sales to retailers and distributors; 2) sales of disposable e-cigarettes and sales of refillable e-cigarettes; and 3) the various combinations of sizes, flavors, and nicotine contents of their e-cigarettes and refill cartridges and e-liquids.
- Whether the FTC should seek data on state-by-state sales of e-cigarettes and related products.
Public comments will be accepted until 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. The FTC will also issue a press release when the notice for public comments is approved.