Authorities in the U.S. have said that they will now regulate e-cigarettes.

You may have noticed people wandering around enveloped in thick clouds of smoke, puffing on what looks like a pen. For the uninitiated, these are devices used by some people in order to smoke tobacco. Now these so-called e-cigarettes will be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, writes Tripp Mickle for Market Watch.

FDA Will Now Regulate E-Cigarettes
Source: Wikimedia Commons

E-cigarettes – Food and Drug Administration announces new regulatory powers

The FDA has announced that it will assume regulatory authority overall e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products. The new rules will ban the sale of such products to anyone under 18, and manufacturers will now have to gain regulatory approval for their products.

The new rules could seriously damage the e-cigarette business, which is worth $3.5 billion. The industry features a large number of small manufacturers and retailers that are unlikely to be able to afford to go through the process of gaining FDA approval.

FDA approval can cost anywhere from $2 million to $10 million per item, said SciLucent LLC, a regulatory consulting company. Bigger companies are not expected to be hit as hard.

Large manufacteres could benefit from new rules

Several major tobacco companies have launched e-cigarette brands, including Altria Group Inc., Reynolds American Inc., and Imperial Brands PLC. These corporate giants are far more capable of covering the costs of the approval process than small vape shops and liquid nicotine manufacturers.

Not only will sales now be banned to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes will have to carry health warnings on their packaging. Sales at vending machines will also be banned.

The health warnings will state, “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

“This is going to be a grim day in the history of tobacco-harm reduction, ” said Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, an industry-funded advocacy group. “It will be a day where thousands of small businesses will be contemplating whether they will continue to stay in business and employ people.”

The FDA will take regulatory authority over unregulated tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco and water pipe tobacco alongside e-cigarettes.