Everything you need to know about the FDA’s proposed e-cig regulations

fda e cigarettes cigarette regulations

The United States Food and Drug Administration officially published today it’s 241-page long proposal for regulating the sale of e-cigarettes. The entire document is available on the Federal Register site for you to peruse as you please, but that’s a lot of information to take in, so we’ve put together this quick overview to give you the gist of the proposal and the impact it might have on e-cigarette users.

What the proposed rules would change

First and foremost, the rules would extend the statutory definition of “tobacco product” to include categories of products that are not currently regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Tobacco Control Act. The new definition would be extended to include things like “dissolvables, gels, hookah tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco.”

Components and parts of tobacco products (but not their related accessories) would also fall under the scope of this proposed rule. This means that the sale of things like filters, rolling papers, tubes, pouches, flavorings, flavored hookah charcoals, and e-cigarette cartridges would be more tightly regulated by the federal government, rather than simply being left up to individual states to regulate.

The proposed rules also include provisions that allow the FDA to regulate future tobacco products that haven’t even been invented yet. The agency envisions that there could be future tobacco products absorbed through the skin or mouth, for example.

best e cig

Additionally, by extending the definition of what are deemed “tobacco products,” the FDA’s proposal would also extend federal minimum age and identification requirements to those products. In other words, if this proposed legislation is accepted, it would mean that in order to purchase any newly-deemed tobacco products — including things like e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, or rolling papers — you would be required to provide identification that proves you are over the age of 18.

Under the new rules, companies would no longer be able to offer free samples, and e-cigarettes would be required to come with warning labels saying that they contain nicotine, which is addictive.

Perhaps the biggest proposed change would require producers of cigars and e-cigarettes to register with the FDA, provide the agency with a detailed accounting of their products’ ingredients, and disclose their manufacturing processes and scientific data. Producers would also be subject to FDA inspections.

What the proposed rules would not change

Despite the wide-reaching scope of the FDA’s proposal, the rules proposed rules do not seek to regulate how e-cigarettes are marketed or advertised. That being said, however,  there are rules included that would prohibit companies from asserting that e-cigarettes are less harmful than real cigarettes — unless they gain approval from the FDA to do so by submitting scientific information.

Additionally, despite voicing concerns over their potential appeal to children, the FDA’s current proposal would not place any restrictions on the range of e-liquid flavors available to consumers. The agency is staying out of that issue for the time being, but FDA officials did say these new regulations are the first major step toward asserting the agency’s authority, and eventually being able to regulate flavors and marketing in the future. So you can hang on to your gummy bear- and churro-flavored liquids for now, but down the road they might be more difficult to get your hands on.

What you can do about it

Now that the proposal has been officially published, the public has 75 days (until July 9, 2014) to issue comments on the proposal. Interested persons may submit comments electronically at Regulations.gov. After this, the FDA will assess all comments and begin to draft a finalized version of the proposal, a process that will likely take multiple months to complete, and perhaps even as long as a year if affected organizations rally to contest the proposed rules.

[Images courtesy of Leszek Glasner/librakv/Shutterstock]

Movies & TV

You should read these epic sci-fi novels before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Super telescope captures supermassive black holes forming billions of years ago

The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii has captured evidence of supermassive black holes forming in the ancient universe. Astronomers discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes from billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.