Sci-fi smokes: Evolving e-cigarette technology may make developing industry standards tougher

Economic Indicators Associated Press

E-cigarette technology is taking off and federal officials say the race to innovate could make creating standards the devices more difficult in the future.

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The popular contraptions that heat a liquid to create vapor rather than burning tobacco have changed dramatically from those first introduced just a few years ago.

Instead of a small battery and plastic cartridge containing nicotine-soaked cotton, some now have computer chips to regulate puffs and temperature, track usage and talk to other electronic devices.

A fast-growing market and the possibility that they could be safer than regular cigarettes have some in the industry worried that regulation that's too heavy-handed could stifle innovation and their businesses.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently weighing regulation for the devices but it's unclear how quickly that will proceed.