A new rule giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookah (water pipes), cigars and pipe tobacco, has taken effect.
The rule aims to prevent youths from initiating tobacco use, inform consumers about the risks, prevent false and misleading claims, encourage cessation, and decrease the harms from tobacco use.
The FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has had authority over cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco since 2009 when the Tobacco Control Act was passed. The new rule expands CTP’s authority to regulate all products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product.
Sales of all tobacco products (both in person and online) to those under the age of 18 years are now prohibited, and age verification by photo ID is required. The rule also bans the distribution of free samples and the sale of tobacco products in vending machines (unless located in an adult-only facility). Additional restrictions, such as required health warnings on product packages and advertisements, apply to tobacco product manufacturers and retailers.
The CTP is building a comprehensive tobacco regulation program and is interested in reports about problems with tobacco products, especially unexpected health or safety problems associated with use or exposure to a particular tobacco product. This includes accidental exposures in children. Health care professionals, parents and others are encouraged to make reports via the online Safety Reporting Portal at http://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov.