Based on what’s happened in the cigarette industry, it’s no surprise that more regulations are coming down the pipeline for e-cigarettes. Anything that Americans consume is going to be carefully monitored and heavily regulated – especially if there’s concern it can negatively impact health.
Vaping has been cited as an effective way to quit smoking cigarettes, but some argue that it could have the opposite effect. Some lawmakers are also concerned about the safety of some liquids and the way products are marketed. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took new measures to regulate vaping in the U.S. Smokeless tobacco products now fall under the Tobacco Control Act, which means the FDA has federal authority to regulate the vaping industry.
What the New Rules Mean for Vaping Companies
The vast majority of health experts agree that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. That said, the fact that nicotine can still be involved and there are no long-term studies on the effects of use the FDA decided tighter regulation was needed.
After nearly a decade, companies within the e-cigarette industry will have to comply with federal regulations. This will impact all new companies right off the bat since they will have to be registered with the FDA before they can open for business. All companies new and old will also have to provide information on every one of their products. This information will have to detail the ingredients and materials that are used as well as the manufacturing process.
For companies like Black Note, known for making their own liquids using natural ingredients and detailed lab reports, there is little concern. But for businesses that use synthetic ingredients and suspect processes, there could be huge blow back. Businesses that don’t pass the FDA sniff test won’t be able to sell their products.
Many small businesses are understandably upset about the new regulations. They have argued that the costs of registering and applying to sell products with the FDA will put mom and pop operations out of business. This also supports the argument that the new FDA regulations are actually in favor of big tobacco companies that have recently gotten involved in e-cigarettes once the market began to grow.
The American Vaping Association has estimated that the cost of getting FDA approval to sell products could be as much as $1 million. The one beacon of light for existing companies is a lengthy period for approval. The FDA is allowing existing companies up to two years to apply with the agency. During that period, they can keep selling their products. They can also continue to sell their products for an additional year while the FDA reviews their application.
Another change the companies will have to deal with is inspections by the FDA. Agency officials will be keeping an eye on everything from the sanitation of areas where liquids are made to whether companies are offering free samples (which is now prohibited). The marketing of products is also being regulated. Companies can no longer advertise that products are “mild” or “light” unless the FDA says they can do so.
What the New Regulations Mean for E-Cigarette Users
E-cigarette companies aren’t the only ones impacted by the new FDA regulations. Consumers will also feel the effects in the coming months. For the most part, the regulations will be more positive than negative.
One positive for e-cigarette users is that there will be more assurance that products are safe to use. The components and liquids will have to be proven safe before they can be sold moving forward. Companies that make subpar products will certainly be weeded out.
Official Age Regulations
For the most part, it was pretty well established that e-cigarettes shouldn’t be sold to minors. As of late last year, 48 states had already passed laws that banned sales to minors. However, the new FDA regulations make it perfectly clear that selling products to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal no matter what state you operate in. Furthermore, anyone under the age of 26 is now required to show identification in order to purchase e-cigarettes.
Suppliers May Be More Limited
It’s almost a guarantee that the regulations will put some companies out of business. Many others may have to temporarily halt business if they don’t meet the requirements before the regulations go into affect at the beginning of August. This will limit the options for users, both online and offline.
There’s No Ban on Liquid Flavors
Given the concern over how e-cigarettes could appeal to minors, many industry insiders were worried there would be a ban on liquid flavors. As of right now, the FDA has put no restrictions on flavoring. However, that could change in the future, and the current regulations do leave the door open for limiting flavors down the road.