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.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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How Is Tobacco a THREAT TO ORAL HEALTH?

Tobacco's greatest threat to your health may be its association with oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:

  • About 90 percent of people with mouth cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases as people smoke or chew more often or for a longer time.

  • Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.

  • About 37 percent of patients who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx. While only 6 percent of people who quit smoking will develop these secondary cancers.

  • Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.7