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Rural Blog: FDA moves to block sales of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18

In a long-anticipated announcement, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it is assuming regulatory authority over electronic cigarettes, which have become a growing concern among youths, especially in rural areas, Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal.

The FDA’s new tobacco regulations will prohibit sales of e-cigarettes and all tobacco products to anyone under 18. Health warnings will also be placed on packages, saying, “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

CDC image. Click for larger version

CDC image. Click for larger version

Rules also will “require manufacturers to submit products for approval.” (CDC graphic)

FDA “rules have the potential to upend the $3.5 billion e-cig industry,” Mickle writes. “Many of the small vape shops, device manufacturers and liquid nicotine producers won’t be able to afford the FDA’s approval process, which could cost anywhere from $2 million to $10 million per item, according to the regulatory consulting company SciLucent LLC.”

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, an industry-funded advocacy group, told Mickle, “This is going to be a grim day in the history of tobacco-harm reduction. It will be a day where thousands of small businesses will be contemplating whether they will continue to stay in business and employ people.”

Vapers argue that e-cigs help people quit; studies on that conflict.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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