E-cigarette regulations are coming from the Food and Drug Administration, which is moving to ban their sale to anyone younger than 18.
For the time being, the rules are being extended into areas of marketing and advertising as well.
Companies would not be able to distributing free e-cigarette samples, vending machine sales would be stopped, and e-cigarette companies would be forced to submit new product proposals to the FDA for approval.
If finalized, the long-awaited proposal would subject the $2 billion e-cigarette industry to federal regulation for the first time. A law passed in 2009 gave the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco and stipulated the agency could extend its jurisdiction to other nicotine products after issuing a rule to that effect.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing that the proposal represented the first “foundational” step towards a broader set of potential regulations that would establish quality standards and include restrictions on flavoring and marketing.
E-cigarette companies such as Lorillard (LO) and others like the Altria Group (MO) and Reynolds America (RAI) have pushed hard to keep the regulations to a minimum, arguing that e-cigarettes were less of a public health issue than regular cigarettes.
While the companies point out that the vapor-producing e-cigarettes do not produce tar, there are no long-term studies on the health risks they pose.