New Federal E-Cigarette Regulations Are Now in Effect
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday began regulating e-cigarettes making it more difficult for minors to buy these products and requiring some of these devices to undergo rigorous and expensive scientific review. According to news reports, the regulations are part of the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, in which Congress gave the federal agency authority to regulate products containing tobacco and nicotine.
What the Regulations Mean
Beginning this week, buyers who look younger than 27 must show proper identification to be able to purchase e-cigarettes. Undercover agents will be at stores to make sure these regulations are being enforced. E-cigarettes may no longer be sold in vending machines unless those machines are located in adults-only facilities. Distributors are also now prohibited from providing customers with free samples. During the next two years, companies must apply to have their products undergo rigorous scientific review by the FDA. The companies will have about a year after they apply to continue to sell their products while they wait for applications to be processed.
Marketing to Young People
For several years now, the e-cigarette industry has been able to get away marketing these products to young people. The battery-powered devices heat a liquid nicotine solution that turns into a vapor, which users can then inhale. Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 2.4 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2014.
About 69 percent of these students were exposed to e-cigarette ads in retail stores, on the Internet, in print media or on television or movies. Public health officials are concerned, justifiably so, that some of the flavors of e-cigs sold by retailers such as cherry and bubble gum particularly target teens and children. While California has laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to young people, this federal law will help ensure that e-cigarettes are not sold underage youth. E-cigarettes have been associated with a number of health problems including “popcorn lung” or lung damage.
The Need for Regulation
Without proper regulation, consumers have no assurance that the product was made in sanitary conditions or that the listed ingredients are accurate. Our e-cig injury lawyers have also been handling cases where defective e-cigarettes have exploded or caught fire resulting in serious burn injuries. These federal regulations are necessary to protect our children from dangerous, defective and potentially harmful e-cigarettes.