The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to regulate e-cigarettes, putting the increasingly popular vapor-fueled smoking devices in the same regulatory bucket as traditional cigarettes. If finalized, after a public comment period, the FDA's new authority would allow it to ban selling e-cigs to minors, restrict e-cigarette vending machines, slap warning labels on e-cigarette packaging, and — probably most helpful to consumers — make e-cig makers disclose what they are putting in their products.
"It's a huge change," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters on Wednesday, before the agency unveiled its proposal. "We will have the authority as a science-based regulatory agency to take critical actions to promote and protect the health of the public."
"If it takes more than a year to finalize this rule, the FDA isn't doing its job," Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, tells The New York Times.
The FDA has tried to regulate e-cigarettes before, but was blocked in court. These new proposed regulations don't go as far as anti-smoking advocates would like. They do, however, require FDA approval for new e-cigarette products. Not a "vaper"? The rules still might affect you: The FDA is also proposing to regulate cigars, hookahs, pipe tobacco, and nicotine gels.