The government has issued new legislation that will now regulate e-cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products, such as hookahs and cigars, like traditional cigarettes and other types of smokeless tobacco products. This was a joint effort that was spearheaded by Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Dr. Robert Califf, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
The new rule has broadened the definition of tobacco products to include things such as little cigars, premium cigars, pipe tobacco, hookahs and even e-cigarettes.
The FDA has hopes that this is an action that will be a milestone in terms of consumer protection. The agency will now have the ability to review new, up and coming tobacco products, before they go to market, which helps to prevent cases of misleading claims made by tobacco manufacturers. It will also provide the FDA with the chance to evaluate the tobacco product ingredients, the way they are made and then provide accurate information to consumers regarding the risks they pose.
The FDA has already begun investigating a number of e-cigarette products and the potential health issues they may present. There are a number of studies that have proven that e-cigarettes are a way to help a person quit smoking for good and that they are an affordable alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Another regulation created by these new rules is that people under the age of 18 will not be able to purchase these products. Right now, not all states forbid the sales of these products to minors. The products are also going to be sold in child-resistant packaging and the government will have a say in what is actually put into the products.
While this may seem like all bad news for the e-cigarette manufacturers, this is not necessarily the case. In the past, the lack of proper warnings and other information left manufacturers open to a lawsuit if someone became sick or even died after using these products. However, with the warning in place, cases such as this will be reduced significantly. While this is not a complete solution, it is one that is heading in the right direction when it comes to reducing cases of child-smokers, even with e-cigarettes.
However, there are many companies that are already filing lawsuits that will delay the implementation of certain parts of the law, which could result in its delay for several decades. Time will only tell if e-cigarettes will truly be regulated like traditional tobacco and if these new regulations will really impact the number of people smoking and trusting these new, modern products.