New federal regulations has given the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greater control over what types of vaporproducts are sold and to whom. Proposed guidelines have restricted how merchants interact with customers as well. Now, all devices that use flavored liquids that heat into a vapor and are inhaled must have government approval. Also, merchants must ask for identification from customers, can no longer give out free samples, and can no longer claim that e-cigs are a healthier alternative to combustible cigarettes. Some speculate that new regulations are a preventative measure to keep non-smokers from vaping. However, a recent CDC study showed that out of the 12.6% of Americans whohave tried e-cigs, only 3.4% were non-smokers. The study also claims that as little as 0.4% of people who have never smoked actual cigarettes now smoke e-cigs.
Needless to say, many e-cig merchants are discontent with the rulings.Merchants in states that already have statewide regulations of electronic cigarettes and other tobacco-alternative products believe that the rulings are unfair and redundant. Some state laws already require e-cig users to be 18 to buy e-cigs, but not all states have age restrictions. This is something the FDA wants to change. Proposed restrictions would be applied to all e-cigs, cigars, nicotine gels, hookahs and similar products. In addition to age restrictions, health warnings will also be applied to packaging like with traditional cigarettes. And like regular cigarettes, the sale of these types of products will be banned from vending machines.
The FDA was given authority to regulate tobacco in 2009, but thus far they’ve only focused on smokeless tobacco products and cigarettes.Some merchants fear that the additional FDA rules will slow down e-cig sales, which have already started to decline according to a recent survey of convenience and tobacco stores.
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