The federal government moves to regulate electronic cigarettes for the first time, citing a rising number of teenage users.
Officials said these rules are the first step in regulating an industry that has, in some ways, operated like the Wild, Wild West. But reaction in that industry to the news is mixed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced rules for e-cigarettes, hookah, and cigars.
Here in the city, you must be 21 years old if you want to vape or buy e-cigarettes, but nationwide retailers now will be prohibited from selling those products to anyone under the age of 18.
Sales to anyone under 26 will require an ID, because there has been a reported rise in the numbers of people of high school age using these products, which officials want to discourage.
The FDA will now require e-cigarette liquid manufacturers to show what is in their products, as well. Officials said that will help keep them out of the kids' hands.
"With this rule, the FDA will be able to prevent misleading claims and provide consumers with information to help them better understand tobacco use," FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said at a press conference.
"I think that bad habits do happen at a young age," said Raj Tiwary, the manager of Ultimate Vapor Source store. "So for them to push it back a little bit, where someone could make a better decision in their life — a little bit older — I think it's a wise move."
Not everyone is happy with the news, however:
"Thousands of small businesses will close in two to three years. Tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and consumer choice will be annihilated," Gregory Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association, said in part in a statement. "This is not regulation — it is prohibition that will cost lives, kill jobs, and further entrench America's largest cigarette companies."
Some of those associations are taking issue with the fact that manufacturers — some of them small businesses — will have to divulge what is in their products, which is an expensive application process to do so.
The FDA rules are slated to go in to effect August.