So the FDA has finally relented to incredible pressure and announced the initial stages of electronic cigarette regulation. It’s been a long time coming, but the first blush of responses, especially from the electronic cigarette industry itself, seems positive. It’s generally good news.
The first bit of good news that has come out of the announcement is the new and firm stance the FDA is proposing to take on children and their exposure to electronic cigarettes. For years now (yes, it really has been years) children have been an easy target for those who are against electronic cigarettes.
The problem was simple. Children were able to get their hands on e-cigs. And if they couldn’t buy them directly, they would have someone else buy them. And then they enjoyed them, with some children becoming addicted to the nicotine in e-cigs. It was never really clear how many of these children were tobacco cigarette smokers before they were vapers, but that didn’t seem to matter. Kids are kids, and something had to be done.
A clear stand taken on e-cigs
So it’s great to see, in the FDA’s announcement this week, that a clear stand has been taken. The body has decided to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. While this may seem an obvious step to take, it was never a given, and the loophole that stood in it’s place until this week allowed kids to get their hands on e-cigs.
Electronic cigarettes come under the new ‘deemed’ area of tobacco products, and the exact ‘child-related’ areas of the FDA announcement are as follows:
The following provisions would apply to newly “deemed” tobacco products:
Minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth;
Prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth.
You can see the full press release here.
This is excellent news for both families and the industry, because it makes it very clear that children will not be allowed to purchase the products, and that they will not be available in areas which children frequent.
It also reinforces the views of the electronic cigarette industry as a whole, which has consistently stated that it never wanted to sell to children.
A direct quote from the FDA press release that went out this week adds to the general feeling that the FDA are thinking about the health of future generations:
“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The rest of the regulation framework covers other areas that, again, bring a level of positivity to the industry, which the FDA is asking to:
- Register with the FDA and report product and ingredient listings;
- Only market new tobacco products after FDA review;
- Only make direct and implied claims of reduced risk if the FDA confirms that scientific evidence supports the claim and that marketing the product will benefit public health as a whole
- Not distribute free samples.
The vast majority of electronic cigarette manufacturers will welcome these changes, and those that do not can’t really expect to be around much longer. One of the key aspects here that really make for a more respected and ‘accepted’ industry is that the manufacturers will have to listen to the FDA regarding implied reduced risk.
A new level of respectability for the e-cig industry
This will bring a whole new level of respectability to the industry, and will allow the manufacturers to make claims that are truly backed by the FDA. Depending on the way things go scientifically, it could well be the case that we will soon see an e-cig product that has ‘verified’ claims on the packet.
And that would be something else. The industry is justly excited about this lurch towards true respectability and acceptance. The measures are open to comment for the next 75 days or so, and anyone is allowed to comment, from the guy in the street to the head of the FDA. It may well be an opportune time for industry leaders to get some points in before things start to move towards being written down in ink.
So the new dawn is here. Finally, we should get to see an industry that receives respect and acceptance, and is able to hold it’s head up high as a ‘grown-up’ product that has to face review by the FA and cannot be sold to minors and all that other stuff.
It’s important stuff though. We have waited a long time for the FDA to actually draw their line in the sand.
And you know what? The very best bit they left out was Web advertising. We think that, as long as we continue to see the online community grow massively around e-cigs, electronic cigarettes still belong online.
Here’s to the future with vaping included.
Knock on wood.