For the first time ever the Food and Drug Administration will be regulating electronic cigarettes. In an announcement made by the Obama administration this week, e-cigarettes will not be sold to teenagers under 18, with sweeping new rules that will also affect traditional tobacco products as well.
New rules will compel retailers to check IDs, sales of tobacco products in vending machines accessible to minors are barred, and free samples are also banned. The FDA is also requiring manufacturers whose products went on sale after February 15th, 2007 to get approval to continue selling the product, allowing the agency to examine ingredients, product design and health risks. Companies will be able to sell the products while being reviewed.
While the FDA cites the beliefs that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to traditional tobacco use and that the health effects of the vapor are still unknown as the foundation of their requirements, other health officials disagree, claiming the e-cigarettes are more beneficial than harmful and reduce the use of traditional tobacco.