By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Starting Monday, new rules take effect that extend the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco.
FDA issued the new regulations in May after nearly two years of deliberation.
Under the new rules, manufacturers, importers and distributors are prohibited from selling e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to Americans under 18, both in person and online. Buyers under age 27 will need photo identification for purchase. In addition, such products can no longer be sold in vending machines that are accessible to minors or be given away as free samples.
Manufacturers of newly regulated tobacco products that were not on the market as of Feb. 15, 2007 must get FDA approval in order to remain on the market. FDA approval will also be required before introducing any new tobacco products.
Other requirements, such as the ban on the use of misleading terms, will not be enforced until one year after the final rules take effect.
The tighter regulations were inspired by the sharp uptick in teen and adolescent use of alternative tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that among the 4.7 million middle and high school students who used tobacco products in 2015, 3 million of them smoked e-cigarettes.
Mitch Zeller, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, called the new regulations “a major public health step forward.”
He wrote in a blog post, “We believe by restricting youth access to additional tobacco products such as cigars, hookah, and e-cigarettes and by scientifically reviewing these products, we will reduce the public health toll of tobacco use, which remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country and the world – and keep our kids tobacco-free.”