E-cigarettes regulated by FDA this year

Electronic cigarettes have been closely watched by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the last few years. In 2011 the FDA announced its goal to include e-cigarettes under the definition of a tobacco product, effectively having power to regulate them.

For those of you who don’t know, e-cigarettes are vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, a liquid is poured over wire coils, and then heated into vapor, which is then inhaled. E-cigarettes are also known as vape pens or vape mods. This year on April 24, the FDA sent out a lengthy proposal that would regulate the sale of e-cigarettes for the first time.

The proposal would ban non face-to-face sales, effectively banning online sale. The ruling would also create requirements forcing manufacturers to share their ingredients to be approved by the FDA, have labels on products warning consumers of addictive nicotine content, and restrict free sample handouts.

“I believe free samples should be available. I can imagine that there are many different flavors with various names/.” High School Senior Don Huynh said. “If the cutomers can’t get free samples, they wouldn’t know what they would be getting into.”

While sales to minors are illegal, it is not illegal for minors to smoke e-cigarettes. There has not been an extensive study on health impacts of vaping, and no deaths have been linked to e-cigarettes.

In June, the white house re-wrote and modified the proposal, altering many policies on e-cigarettes and tobacco products. One thing to note is the original proposal set forth by the FDA; small e-cigarette companies would have to put tons of money into having products approved by the FDA, including warning labels in production, thus making each new innovative product cost manufacturers millions just to get a product approved by the FDA. Small businesses pertaining to e-cigarettes would be devastated while big business tobacco companies could cash in on the new e-cigarette market.

For vapers out there, the only changes in effect already are the requirement of identification when purchasing an e-cigarette as well as the discontinuation of free samples. Vending machine sales are also banned, but online sales are unrestricted to some extent. The FDA is still pushing for the regulation of the e-cigarette market, so expect some new policies in the years to come.

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