Many people already know that tobacco products such as cigarettes are injurious to their health, which is why they falsely believe that electronic cigarettes and cigars are a healthier substitute. In an effort to curtail this misconception, FDA has issued a new regulation on tobacco.
The FDA has been regulating tobacco since 2009. As of August 8, 2016, they have finally extended the rule to electronic cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other products that fit within the rule. The FDA’s authority has expanded, but it is for the protection of the public health. Part of the new regulation requires that tobacco manufacturers list all of the ingredients on their products by 2017. The new rule requires health warnings on “roll your own tobacco”, newly regulated tobacco products and cigarette tobacco. Free samples are also no longer permitted. The FDA will now be able to review all new tobacco products not yet in the market, which will ultimately help the FDA deal with misleading statements; thus, consumers will be correctly informed of what they are buying. Manufacturers will have to list their ingredients 90 days before the product is in the market. The rule has also prohibited sellers from selling to youths under eighteen, and consumers must now show photo identification.
A growing amount of teenagers have been using electronic cigarettes, otherwise known as e-cigarettes, because they believe that it is healthier than cigarettes. The data from the National Youth Tobacco survey indicated that 73 percent of teens believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes. This perception is dangerous for youth because the e-cigarette actually delivers the same, if not more, nicotine than a conventional cigarette. Researchers have stated that this perception is related to their use of such products. But unfortunately, as noted by lead researcher Dr. Stephen Amrock, “children who use e-cigarettes than those who do not go on to use traditional cigarettes.” Hopefully, the new rule will increase youths’ awareness and decrease their misconceptions on alternative tobacco products.
As the new rule seeks to improve public health, it also causes a stir amongst businesses in the industry. Some business owners complain that they do not have the financial resources to comply with the regulations. The most concerning part is the “impossible pre market tobacco approval (PTMA) requirement” for products not on the market at that time. Businesses want a new date for new products, because under the current law, they argue, most products will be forced off the market. Business owners are currently reaching out to Congress in the hopes of changing the date for PTMA.
The new rule impacted businesses in the tobacco industry but it is necessary to combat the misconception on “safer” tobacco alternatives. As a result, the rule will help consumers and the vulnerable youth become more aware of their health, and the threat tobacco poses to it.