FDA Stretches Oversight to All Tobacco Sales


Pharmacies will no longer be able to legally sell e-cigarettes, hookah, and cigars to anyone younger than 18 years.

Pharmacies will no longer be able to legally sell e-cigarettes, hookah, and cigars to anyone younger than 18 years.

The FDA recently finalized a rule that extends its regulatory authority to all tobacco products. The rule is aimed at protecting future generations from the risks of tobacco.

“As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap,” said US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in a press release. “All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction.”

The 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that e-cigarette use almost tripled in just 1 year. Meanwhile, hookah use nearly doubled between 2011 and 2015.

Under the FDA’s new rule, tobacco consumers of all ages must show photo ID to verify their age in order to buy any tobacco product. In addition, tobacco products must not be sold in vending machines, unless they’re located in an adults-only facility, and free samples aren’t permitted.

Tobacco product manufacturers must now demonstrate that their products meet the applicable public health standards set by the FDA, and they must receive marketing authorization from the agency.

“As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating health effects of tobacco use,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, in a press release. “At the FDA, we must do our job under the Tobacco Control Act to reduce the harms caused by tobacco. That includes ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions about tobacco use and making sure that new tobacco products for purchase come under comprehensive FDA review.”

All manufacturers and retailers of newly regulated tobacco products must report ingredients, register manufacturing establishments, place health warnings on packaging and advertisements, and refrain from using lower-risk marketing (words like “light” or “mild”) on products unless authorized by the FDA.

Tobacco prevention campaigns have saved at least 8 million lives in the last 50 years, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking.

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