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FDA Proposes Prohibiting E-Cig Sales to Minors, Other Regulations

[MMA News Now, April 24, 2014] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed April 24 to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors as well as other regulations.

Minnesota state law already restricts the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. This session, the Minnesota state Legislature is considering bills (HF 1931, SF 2027) that would add further regulation to the products including requiring tobacco sellers to obtain a license to sell e-cigarettes and requiring them to place the product behind their counters. The Legislature is also considering requiring e-cigarette makers to disclose ingredients on the product’s packaging.

“We’re glad to see that the FDA is working on tightening regulations on e-cigarettes,” said Cindy Firkins Smith, M.D., MMA president. “The dramatic growth of these products is a public health concern that warrants careful attention. The MMA fully supports efforts to restrict the availability and use of e-cigarettes, as well as regulate the devices and the substances they deliver. The MMA is strongly supportive of efforts within the state Legislature to preserve the integrity of clean indoor air by including e-cigarettes in the Freedom to Breathe Act.”

The FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. The updates proposed April 24 would add the following products to the FDA list:  e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water pipe (or hookah) tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products.  

Similar to the currently regulated tobacco products, makers of these other tobacco products would be required 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; and
•    Not distribute free samples.

In addition, under the proposed rule, the following provisions would apply to newly “deemed” tobacco products:
•    Minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth
•    Requirements to include health warnings
•    Prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth.
 
The FDA changes, if approved, would take effect later this year.

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