FDA bans sale of e-cigarettes to minors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule last week that extends the agency’s authority to additional products, including e-cigarettes. As part of its new rule, the FDA is prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, a step the 84th Texas Legislature took in 2015.

In 2009, Congress gave the FDA certain authority to regulate cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The rule finalized last week deems all other products that meet the definition of “tobacco product” under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to be subject to the act’s provisions. According to the agency, these include electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes.

Effective Aug. 8, the rule applies existing requirements for tobacco products to the newly regulated items. For example, manufacturers must register with the FDA and provide product and ingredient listings. New products also must be reviewed and approved by the FDA.

The new rule also prohibits nationwide the sale of covered tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to people under 18, both in person and online.

The 84th Texas Legislature during the 2015 legislative session enacted SB 97 by Hinojosa, banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and imposing additional regulations on the products. The bill established requirements for child-resistant cartridges, delivery sales, and signs where e-cigarettes are sold. It also prohibited the use of the devices at schools. The Department of State Health Services must report by Jan. 5 of each odd-numbered year on the status of e-cigarette use in Texas.

Before the recent actions by the FDA and the Texas Legislature, a number of Texas cities had banned e-cigarette sales to minors.

For more on e-cigarettes in Texas, see an earlier Interim News Briefs post, Lawmakers may consider banning e-cigarette sales to minors.

by Mary Beth Schaefer

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