WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it would propose federal regulations on electronic-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels and water pipe or hookah tobacco.
The FDA also said it would propose banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and require e-cigarette manufacturers to disclose the chemicals used in the devices. The FDA would also require health warnings and prohibit of vending machine sales of the newly regulated tobacco products unless in facilities that never admit youth. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, but the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed by President Obama in 2009 extends the FDA's authority over other tobacco products.
“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” Sebelius said in a statement.
E-cigarettes, also referred to as Vape Pen, e-Hookah, or Hookah Pen, "resemble traditional cigarettes but use a heat source, usually powered by a battery, to turn 'e-liquid,' a liquid that usually contains nicotine from tobacco and flavorings, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. The amount of nicotine in the aerosol may vary by brand," according to the FDA definition.
“Tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in this country," Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA commissioner said. “Science-based product regulation is a powerful form of consumer protection that can help reduce the public health burden of tobacco use on the American public, including youth.”
Under the proposed new rule, tobacco product manufacturers must: -- Register with the FDA.
-- Market new tobacco products after FDA review.
-- Not distribute free samples.
However, the new regulation does not ban ads or Internet sales of the newly regulated tobacco products, or the use of flavors in e-cigarettes, which some say help attract youth.
The public has 75 days to comment on the new regulation.
The U.S. sales of e-cigarettes are expected to approach $2 billion this year, while the overall U.S. tobacco market totals some $100 billion.