The FDA will officially be proposing new legislation for e-cigarettes today, starting a new era in the now multi billion dollar industry. This regulation, which will extend to cigars and pipe tobacco, will be used as oversight to protect consumers and find out the risks involved in e-cigarettes. Immediately these regulations will legally classify e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product” and ban the sale to minors. Other potential changes in regulations are being hailed by activists, and criticized by those in the business.

Activists are more than thrilled about the increase in legislation. The legal classification of e-cigarettes as a tobacco product (as its main ingredient is nicotine) bans the sale to minors in America, which is needed since only half of the states passed a restriction of sale. The New York Times reports the biggest win may be the new requirement that forces all e cigarette manufacturers to register with the FDA, disclose their ingredients, manufacturing process and scientific data in detail. Advocates like David Abrams of the Schroder National Institute For Tobacco Studies make it seem like this is only a good thing for the consumer…
”You won’t be able to mix nicotine in your bathtub and sell it anymore.”

An issue not mentioned but sure to become a hot topic in the future is the sale of flavored e-cigarette liquids. Critics argue flavor can entice people who don’t have an addiction to smoking, or inspire youths to pick up the habit at some point. Right now, the burden of proof is on the FDA to provide factual evidence children are lured to “vaping”, a new term for e cigarette usage. While the FDA has managed to get flavored tobaccos such as cloves restricted in the past in American stores, they were unable to place graphic images on cigarette packs in a court case a couple years back.

Once the new rules go into effect, vape stores will no longer be able to offer free samples to their customers. This will cause a huge blow to smaller mom and pop stores, many of whom make a majority of their sales based on custom made e-liquids. Businesses would also no longer be able to assert that e-cigarettes are any healthier than smoking unless they were to submit to the FDA scientific evidence supporting the claim. Businesses also would not be able to create and distribute new products before receiving FDA approval. Fortunately, they will have two years to submit their products before the regulation goes fully into effect.

Critics against the legislation say the regulation does nothing but keep smaller companies from growing, and allows the larger tobacco companies to benefit. The cost of regulation, gaining scientific approval for products, and other expenses can be enough to drive many businesses under. Experts state this legislation will likely significantly lower the amount of e-cigarette companies currently in the market. Much of this speculation remains to be seen, however, as the new regulations have up to 75 days of public scrutiny and then will take close to a year to go into effect.