Consumer News: New FDA rule makes it illegal for minors to buy e-cigarettes

On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule on tobacco products, making it illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco products—including e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco and cigars—to minors.

''Today's announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation – it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions,'' said Sylvia Burwell, secretary, Health and Human Services.

While cigarette use is on the decline, non-traditional tobacco products such as e-cigarettes are on the rise among young people. In a press release announcing the new rule, FDA noted that e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 1.5 percent to 16 percent from 2011 to 2016—an increase of more than 900 percent.

FDA will also now require the manufacturers of tobacco products to:

  • Register manufacturing establishments and providing product listings to the FDA;
  • Report ingredients, and harmful and potentially harmful constituents;
  • Require premarket review and authorization of new tobacco products by the FDA;
  • Place health warnings on product packages and advertisements; and
  • Not sell modified risk tobacco products (including those described as ''light,'' ''low,'' or ''mild'') unless authorized by the FDA.

According to the American Dental Association, there is no such thing as a healthy tobacco product. Many non-cigarette alternatives are often marketed as healthier alternatives to smoking, but tobacco is harmful to your oral health and overall health. Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of tobacco-related health problems.

For more information on tobacco and oral health, visit MouthHealthy.org.

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