AUSTIN (KXAN) — New rules will make it tougher for teenagers to buy e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration released long-awaited rules to bring the industry under federal oversight.
The new rules will not let anyone under 18 years old buy e-cigs. Last year, Texas approved a ban on the sale of e-cigs to minors. Manufacturers will also have to have all of their products tested and approved along with new health warnings. Stores will also not be able to give out free samples or sell them in vending machines.
These new rules will impact thousands of people in Texas who vape.
Will Hale hasn’t picked up a traditional cigarette since 2012. The combinations of flavors and nicotine levels brought him to e-cigarettes. Hale, who is a manager at All About Vapor, regularly makes bottles of e-cigarette juice at the shop. He heats up the oil with a metal coil inside a device (or “mod”) which in turn creates the well known vapor effect. The Food and Drug Administration now considers that particular process as manufacturing.
Mom and pop shops like All About Vapor worry they’ll have to get every flavor, every nicotine level and every product approved by the FDA tests, potentially costing them millions of dollars.
“People are addicted to nicotine but they are dying from the combustion in the tar. So to treat e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes is deplorable,” said Charlie Hodge from All About Vapor. He worries regulations to stop bad practices will kill an industry built on innovation. Thousands of people have quit smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes.
“The fact that they are not being encouraged to stop smoking and start vaping, it’s dangerous,” said Hodge.
“I think it’s a smart move. Something that should have been done years ago,” said Jeff Temple, Ph.D, from the UT Medical Branch spoke to KXAN via skype from his Galveston office. He looks at electronic cigarettes as a way for children to get hooked on traditional cigarettes or other drugs. He says his own work in Galveston has shown many correlations.
While recognizing e-cigs help known smokers quit, he likes the FDA’s plan to test the products.
“Because the market so far has been unregulated, we don’t really know what’s in e-cigs all the time. So up until now, we don’t know all the ingredients,” said Temple.
E-cig shops and manufacturers have hired attorneys to take these new rules to court. Manufacturers and shops have 90 days to file litigation to get an injunction. They have two years to get all of their products up to FDA requirements.
The FDA rules also regulates hookah shops, cigars and pipe tobacco.