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For the 1st time, FDA authorizes e-cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized e-cigarettes for the first time, saying data submitted by R.J. Reynolds indicates the company's Vuse digital vapor cigarette could help adults who are trying to quit or cut down on smoking.

This decision only applies to Vuse's refillable Solo Power devices and nicotine cartridges that are tobacco flavored. The FDA said R.J. Reynolds requested authorization of other flavored products, and those petitions were rejected. Last month, the FDA said it denied applications for more than 1 million e-cigarettes and associated products, primarily because they could appeal to minors, The Associated Press reports.

There haven't been many studies on how well e-cigarettes help smokers who are trying to quit, and companies have to show their products benefit public health in order to stay on the market. This first authorization is an "important step" toward "ensuring all new tobacco products undergo the FDA's robust, scientific premarket evaluation," Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's tobacco center, said in a statement.