The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it will regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others.
Until now, the FDA could only regulate cigarettes and cigarette-related products and smokeless tobacco.
“This action is a milestone in consumer protection – going forward, the FDA will be able to review new tobacco products not yet on the market, help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, and communicate the potential risks of tobacco products,” the FDA said in announcing the changes.
“We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell
The rules will forbid the sale of e-cigarettes to children and will allow the government to regulate the contents of the products.
The FDA attempted to ban the sale of e-cigarettes following a 2009 study that found detectable levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals in e-cigarette samples. But a court ruled in 2010 that the FDA had not cited evidence of harm.
Under 18 age:
Before today, there was no federal law prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco or cigars to people under age 18. Today’s rule changes that with provisions aimed at restricting youth access, which go into effect in 90 days, including:
Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years (both in person and online).
Requiring age verification by photo ID.
Not allowing the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility) and
Not allowing the distribution of free samples.