FDA Issues New Rules for E-Cigarettes

The new rules include a ban on sales to anyone under age 18.

Yui Mok/PA Wire/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled broad new rules governing e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookahs—products that in recent years have exploded in popularity among young people and until now have been largely unregulated. Under the new rules, it will be illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, and companies that manufacture e-cigarettes will be forced to register with the agency.

In addition, vending machines will no longer be allowed to carry e-cigarettes. Free samples of the product will also be prohibited.

The Obama administration’s new rules follow similar age restrictions imposed by a growing number of states out of concern that e-cigarettes are more harmful than the companies producing them have let on. In December, a study conducted by Harvard researchers found that flavored e-cigarettes—with fruity, appealing offerings—were linked to a dangerous lung disease.

“At last, the Food and Drug Administration will have basic authority to make science-based decisions that will protect our nation’s youth and the public health from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah,” president of the American Lung Association Harold Wimmer said in a statement on Thursday.

The new rules are likely to be a controversial topic among public health experts, some of whom say e-cigarettes reduce rates of traditional smoking, which they believe to be more dangerous. Just last month, Britain’s Royal College of Physicians concluded that the product was a healthier alternative to smoking.



Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend