The Food and Drug Administration has released new regulations for e-cigarettes and similar devices, and one anti-smoking advocate says the agency took a much stronger stance than many health groups thought they would.
The regulations released Thursday would expand the definition of what’s considered a “tobacco product” to include e-cigs and vaping devices, which would mean those items are treated in the same way as traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The rules would also restrict the products to consumers over the age of 18, regulate the ingredients that can be included in the “juices” used in the devices, and require them to be sold in child-resistant packaging.
Wendy Vander Zanden, executive director of Community Action for Healthy Living in Kaukauna, praised the move. In particular, she said the decision to regulate ingredients means consumers can now have a better idea of what’s in those products. “Without this regulation there could have been multiple ingredients in e-cigarettes that no one really knew what was in them.”
Vander Zanden says there’s also talk of eliminating e-cigarette flavors, which she argues are meant to target younger people.
The use of electronic vaping devices has seen dramatic growth in recent years, especially among young people. A report released earlier this year found a 14 percent increase in e-cig use over the past four years among the high school-age population.
The rules are expected to face strong industry resistance, with potential lawsuits likely delaying their implementation.
Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report.