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FDA Takes Steps to Protect Americans from Dangers of Tobacco with New Regulations

It has been well documented that tobacco products can lead to lung diseases and conditions, including emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a stand against previously unregulated tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes.

In a new set of regulations released by the FDA in early May, a rule has been extended to include oversight of all tobacco products, allowing the agency to address public health concerns such as youth access to tobacco products.

Prior to this new regulation, there was no federal law prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco or cigars to people under age 18, which created an even larger significant public health threat. The rule is set to go into effect in August and will include:

  • Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years (both in person and online);
  • Requiring age verification by photo ID;
  • Not allowing the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility); and
  • Not allowing the distribution of free samples.

Additionally, manufacturers, retailers and importers are also under stricter regulations including:

  • Registering manufacturing establishments and providing product listings to the FDA;
  • Reporting ingredients, and harmful and potentially harmful constituents;
  • Requiring premarket review and authorization of new tobacco products by the FDA;
  • Placing health warnings on product packages and advertisements; and
  • Not selling modified risk tobacco products (including those described as “light,” “low,” or “mild”) unless authorized by the FDA.

With these new regulations in place, it is the hope of the FDA, federal government, and public health community to protect the American people from the harm of tobacco products, especially adolescents, who have been particularly targeted by the marketing campaigns of e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers.

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