The federal government announced sweeping new regulations for vaping products Thursday, making them subject to the same regulations as cigarettes and other tobacco products, including banning their sale to minors, who have come to make up a giant part of the vaping customer base.
Under the new rule, vape manufacturers and tobacco companies would have to submit products that have escaped federal safety oversight since February 2007 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. Feb. 15, 2007, was the final date that tobacco products would be grandfathered in by the Tobacco Control Act of 2009.
The new rules will effectively extend the restrictions the FDA has for years imposed on traditional cigarettes to a spectrum of other products, including vapes, hookahs, pipe tobacco, and nicotine gels.
Vape manufacturers and vendors will no longer be permitted to sell their products to customers younger than 18 and buyers would have to show a photo ID to purchase. The new rule also requires health warnings to be displayed on packaging and advertising and prohibits their sale in vending machines, and free samples will be prohibited.
The FDA first proposed the rule in April 2014, so vape makers and sellers have had time to gear up for the changes. The new rule also gives the industry two extra years to comply with the laws and submit applications for all their products. Vendors, however, will have to comply with the new rules in about three months – 90 days from the rule’s publication May 10.
Vaping among teens has soared in recent years. Currently, more than 15 percent of high school students use vaping products – an increase of more than 900 percent over the last five years.
Under the new rule, brands of e-juice – flavored nicotine liquid that is vaporized in a vaping device – will have its ingredients checked to enter the market if it’s a new product, or remain on the market if it’s an older product.
“Millions of kids are being introduced to nicotine every year, a new generation hooked on a highly addictive chemical,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “We cannot let the enormous progress we’ve made toward a tobacco-free generation be undermined by-products that impact our health and economy in this way.”