The burgeoning e-cigarette industry has operated in the U.S. with few of the restrictions that cigarettes have. Until now, that is.
According to USA Today, the federal government has issued a rule that e-cigs and other tobacco products will be regulated similarly to standard tobacco cigarettes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will now have to give the OK for any tobacco product before it can be sold in stores. The impact on the vaping industry could be monumental because every variation of nicotine level and flavor would need a separate approval process, with each one costing $1 million or more. This costly, time-consuming process could greatly reduce the number of products vape stores have available to sell.
The rule also bans selling "covered tobacco products" to anyone under the age of 18.
Advocates for the ruling says it'll help drive consumers away from the products by making the dangers of nicotine and tobacco easily known with required labelling and help keep them out of the hands of a growing population of youth users.
Industry experts say most e-cig sellers could be run out of business with these changes. National Center for Public Policy Research e-cig advocate Jeff Stier says the regulations could drive customers back to tobacco cigarettes, damaging e-cigarettes' role in helping people wean themselves off smoking.
Vape store owner Russell Major thinks the regulations are being enacted without enough information, saying, "To me, we don't really understand the long-term health risks. We don't know if there are health risks."
Stores have just over 90 days to comply.
What do you think about this?