New regulations facing the e-cigarette market may be giving some users the vapors in the near future. The federal government issued a new rule Thursday regulating e-cigarettes similarly to traditional tobacco products, including banning sales to children.
While that move may seem like common sense, other aspects of the ruling are more troubling for retailers and manufacturers. Previously e-cigarettes were not subject to the regulations of the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Now they are, meaning traditional restrictions on cigarettes, like needing to show ID to buy them, now impact e-cigarettes as well. Oh, and no more free samples.
However, that’s not what has vaper’s concerned. The Tobacco Control Act also requires companies to show exactly what is in any tobacco product released to the market after 2007. The impact of that aspect of the law could be staggering. Each flavor or nicotine level would require a separate application for approval unless it was grandfathered in under the 2007 rule. Since most e-cigarettes weren’t on the market at that point, this rule has some panicking.
There’s good news though for manufacturers. While retailers have just 90 days from May 10 to comply with the new rules, the makers of e-cigarettes have a two year window to comply with regulators, giving them plenty of time to make their applications. In addition an amendment is currently working its way through the house to help more kinds of e-cigarettes get grandfathered in.
Meanwhile anti-Tobacco activists have expressed frustration that the ruling doesn’t go far enough, failing to outright prohibit e-cigarette flavors that might appeal to children, like candy or fruit. The e-cigarette industry has flourished for years while managing to bypass regulation. While these new changes will surely be frustrating for some consumers and retailers, no one can really be surprised by them. The wild west days of vaping are over. Welcome to civilization.