FDA issues new rules to regulate electronic cigarettes

FILE - In this July 16, 2015 file photo, Bruce Schillin exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at the Vapor Spot, in Sacramento, Calif. California Gov. Jerry Brown faces a midnight deadline to act on six bills to restrict tobacco use in California, including one to raise the legal age to buy tobacco for smoking, dipping, chewing and vaping from 18 to 21. Brown must sign, veto or return the bills to the Legislature on Wednesday, May 4, or they automatically become law on Thursday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New federal regulations will mean serious changes to the electronic cigarette industry. The Food and Drug Administration has just issued new rules which are designed to keep E-cigarettes out of the hands of children.

For years, electronic cigarettes have had basically no rules. As a result, the percent of teens using them has gone up about a thousand percent in the past five years. That is about to stop, however, and the whole e-cig industry is in for a major shakeup.

Related Content: FDA brings e-cigarettes under federal authority

Electronic cigarettes were supposed to be a way for long-time smokers to switch to something less dangerous. The nicotine is delivered in an inhalable liquid vapor instead of smoke. But with no regulation, kids were getting their hands on e-cigarettes, and they became the first step towards smoking.

That just got much more difficult.

The new FDA rules mean they can no longer sell e-cigarettes to minors. The head of the school of medicine at Quinnipiac University says medical science needs more time to look at the long-term health effects of e-cigs, and introducing nicotine in any form to young people is a bad idea.

“It can send you on a path towards becoming used to addictive behavior,”  said Doctor H. Andrew Selinger, Chair of Family Medicine at the Quinnipiac University School of Medicine. “That’s not something we want for our children or our adolescents.”

What this new regulation does is essentially expand the kind of oversight the FDA already has over regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes, and also hand-rolled cigars, roll your own tobacco, and hookah tobacco. That means no sale to anyone under 18, ID is required to buy it, and health warnings have to be included on the packaging.

Related Content: US bans use of e-cigarettes on airline flights

Manufacturers have two years to apply to be able to stay in business. Smoke shops and convenience stores will have just 90 days to start complying with the new rules.

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