Government Regulation of Tobacco Products

In 2016, the FDA announced that nationwide tobacco regulations be extended to all tobacco products, including:

  • e-cigarettes and their liquid solutions
  • cigars
  • hookah tobacco
  • pipe tobacco

In December 2019, the federal government raised the legal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, and in January 2020, the FDA issued a policy on the sale of flavored vaping cartridges. Therefore:

  • It is illegal to sell vaping products (e-cigarettes), hookah tobacco, or cigars in person or online to anyone under age 21.
  • Buyers have to show their photo ID to purchase vaping products (e-cigarettes), hookah tobacco, or cigars, verifying that they are 21 years or older.
  • These products cannot be sold in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility).
  • It is illegal to hand out free samples.

FDA regulation also means that the Federal government will now have a lot more information about what is in vaping products, the safety or harms of the ingredients, how they are made, and what risks need to be communicated to the public (for example, on health warnings on the product and in advertisements). They will also be able to stop manufacturers from making statements about their products that are not scientifically proven.

Regulation does not mean that vaping products are necessarily safe for all adults to use, or that all of the health claims currently being made in advertisements by manufactures are true. But it does mean that vaping products, hookah tobacco, and cigars now have to follow the same type of rules as cigarette manufacturers.