Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Story by Steve Barnum / Contributing Writer
The Food and Drug Administration placed new regulations on vaping and e-cigarettes in early August.
Information found on the FDA’s website states that in June 2009, Congress passed a bill, signed by President Barack Obama, allowing the FDA to regulate the distribution, marketing and manufacturing of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarette distributors now have to label all of their vaping liquids with health warnings, along with charging consumers to try new flavors in stores, making free samples prohibited. Further regulations require vapor stores to verify an official form of identification to make sure no one under the age of 18 can gain access to the tobacco product.
The FDA also requires all e-cigarette related products that were not on the market as of February 15, 2016, “to show that products meet the applicable public health standard set by the law,” according to the FDA’s website.
The goal is to protect Americans from the major public health threat that is tobacco. The FDA does recognize, however, that some forms of tobacco may be less hazardous than others and encourages manufacturers to explore innovations that minimize health risks.
Fred Moore, the owner of 5 Star Vapor on Greenland Drive, feels that the industry needs to be regulated.
“Some things affecting our store is charging for sample testing. We are not allowed to build coils [and] we are not allowed to give out safety information on building coils, and I’m not okay with that,” Moore says.
Under the FDA’s new regulations, all e-cigarette liquids, even with 0% nicotine, must be labeled as if they contain nicotine.
Moore feels that with these new regulations, corporate manufacturers are going to have a harder time with the local “mom-and-pop” vape stores. Bigger chains will have to regulate more of their products and acquire more licensing from the FDA.
“I think the mom-and-pops have a leg up on a company like Avail or Saffire because they are having to have every one of their flavors tested,” Moore says. “They are going to have to buy a license to sell their own juice for each flavor.”
Luke Blackburn, an MTSU sophomore and agriculture major, thinks that the regulations are inconvenient when it comes to paying to sample the flavors. When asked if these FDA regulations will have an effect on the community, Blackburn said, “I think it’s going to be more small business than consumer based.”
Blackburn believes that vaping “is a healthier alternative compared to smoking cigarettes and [is] better for the air, too.”
The FDA’s regulations are intended to make sure people understand the potential health risks associated with vaping and consuming tobacco.
Since July 1, 2011, MTSU has had a tobacco-free policy, and that includes electronic cigarettes and their accessories.