New Tobacco Rules

May 29, 2017

What does this new rule do?

The new tobacco rule establishes discourse taken over seven years ago concerning the regulation of cigarettes. As of  June 2009, The President and Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to give the FDA power to regulate the making, distribution, and selling of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco ad roll-your-own tobacco).

This rule has several implications now.

This authority also applies to recent tobacco creations like e-cigarettes, ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems), cigars (even premium), hookah (also known as waterpipe tobacco), pipe tobacco, nicotine gels and dissolvables.

Health warnings are required on all tobacco-related products, and free samples are prohibited. Also, manufacturers of products that hit the market after February 15, 2007 must make sure their products meet FDA health standards to get FDA approval.

This act also prohibits the sale of all tobacco-related products to minors (people under age 18) and in vending machines not placed in adult-only locations. A government issued ID must be presented to verify age to purchase tobacco products.

What was the FDA’s point in doing this act?

Because of the detrimental effect of tobacco on public health, the FDA’s role in implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is to help reduce the risk of tobacco-related diseases and death.

FDA regulation does not equate to endorsing the products as being safe to use. However, it does stop the sale of products like hookah, cigars, and e-cigarettes to people under 18 years of age.  Although there is a significant decrease in traditional cigarette use among youth, there is a marked increase in the use of other tobacco-related products. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC) report that over 16 percent of the high school population smokes e-cigarettes (up from 1.5% in 2011), and there is a great increase in the use of hookah.

But aren’t e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?

The FDA realizes that not all tobacco-related products have the same level of potential harm. Therefore, the nature of tobacco regulation will change when the FDA has more information on the extent of harm all new tobacco-related products cause.

The FDA recognizes that some of these new technological tobacco products can be both beneficial and harmful. For example, e-cigarettes can reduce air pollution and encourage people to change from using real cigarettes. However, if products like these promote more youth encouragement to use tobacco and promote more encouragement for people to not stop using tobacco-related products, then their effect is negative on society.

The current goal of the FDA is to persuade manufacturers to consider new products that have a more beneficial impact on society than a negative one. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA power to research the effect of these products on users and non-users and regulate how these products are marketed.

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