Tags: FDA bans | e-cigarette | sales | minors | regulations

FDA Bans E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

Image: FDA Bans E-Cigarette Sales to Minors
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Friday, 06 May 2016 08:49 AM

The U.S. government on Thursday took wide-ranging steps to crack down for the first time on e-cigarettes and cigars, growing in popularity among teens, and banned sales to anyone under age 18 in hopes of sparing a new generation from nicotine addiction.

The Food and Drug Administration's action brought regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco in line with existing rules for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. The new rules take effect in 90 days.

The rules promise to have a major impact on the $3.4 billion e-cigarette industry that has flourished in the absence of federal regulation, making the nicotine-delivery devices the most commonly used tobacco products for U.S. youngsters.

The FDA said it will require companies to submit e-cigarettes and other newer tobacco products for government approval, provide it with a list of their ingredients and place health warnings on packages and in advertisements.

Health advocacy groups hailed the move. Industry officials said the regulations could hurt smaller companies and cripple a their job-creating business due to the expense of the regulatory process. Wall Street analysts expect the regulations to herald a new wave of consolidation led by big tobacco companies.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporize a fluid typically including nicotine and a flavor component. Using them is called "vaping."

The FDA will require age verification by photo identification, ban sales from vending machines except in adults-only locations and stop the distribution of free product samples.

The new regulations had been highly anticipated after the agency issued a proposed rule two years ago on how to oversee the e-cigarette industry and the other products.

"Millions of kids are being introduced to nicotine every year, a new generation hooked on a highly addictive chemical," U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell told reporters, calling the rules a first step toward breaking the cycle of addiction.

Burwell said health officials still do not have the scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes can help smokers quit, as the industry asserts, and avoid the known ills of tobacco.
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The e-cigarette vapor industry, which includes e-cigarettes, vapors, personal vaporizers and tanks, is expected to have about $4.1 billion in sales in 2016, Wells Fargo estimated in a recent research note.

"These new regulations create an enormously cost-prohibitive regulatory process for manufacturers to market their products to adult smokers and vapers," said Cynthia Cabrera, president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, representing the e-cigarette industry.

Three million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2015, compared with 2.46 million in 2014, according to the most recent federal data.

A University of Southern California study of high school students last year found that those who used e-cigarettes were more than twice as likely to also smoke traditional cigarettes. While some researchers believe e-cigarettes pose lower cancer risk because they do not burn tobacco, other researchers view e-cigarette vapor as potentially harmful because of chemicals released during the burning process.

"This is a real epidemic and banning the sales of these products to minors, much like cigarettes, is a critical step to protecting their health now and into the future," said Democratic U.S. Representative Lois Capps of California.

Reynolds American Inc(RAI.N), Imperial Brands Plc (IMB.L) and Altria Group Inc (MO.N) are among the largest makers of e-cigarettes.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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The U.S. government on Thursday took wide-ranging steps to crack down for the first time on e-cigarettes and cigars, growing in popularity among teens, and banned sales to anyone under age 18 in hopes of sparing a new generation from nicotine addiction. The Food and Drug...
FDA bans, e-cigarette, sales, minors, regulations
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Friday, 06 May 2016 08:49 AM
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