CINCINNATI (Meghan Mongillo) – The FDA announced Thursday that it will begin cracking down on electronic cigarettes and that they plan to review the contents of them.
Opponents say these measures will hurt vape shops and people who are trying to quit smoking.
The new rules are for e-cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and pipe tobacco. It’s already against state law in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to sell to teens younger than 18, but now it’s a federal law.
The other part of the crackdown has to do with what’s inside e-cigarettes.
Nathan Overcash opened the Vapor Trail Shop on Beechmont Avenue because e-cigarettes helped him quit smoking.
“I needed to see that cloud of smoke to feel like I was smoking,” said Overcash.
He says he uses a personal vaporizer and has cut down the nicotine in the juice from 24 milligrams to three.
“I also feel like I can breathe better,” he said. “When I smoked, I was hacking, but now I could run around the building. [You] don’t get tar effect like you get in those cigarettes.”
But what exactly is in an e-cigarette? Right now, there’s no testing or government rules for manufacturers. That will change with the new FDA regulations.
“We also intend to issue further rules that require nicotine labels and child resistant packaging for products like e-liquid,” said Sylvia Burwell of Health and Human Services. “In order to stay on the market, manufacturers will be required to show what’s in the products to make sure they are suitable to the marketplace.”
The ruling also bans selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. This comes as vaping is on the rise among young Americans. In 2015, 3 million middle school and high school students used the devices.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department says it’s a problem in the Tri-State too, adding that, even for adults, e-cigarettes are not a government-approved stop-smoking method.
“There’s not been a lot of research conducted on those yet,” said Stephanie Vogel of the Northern Kentucky Health Department. “There’s still a lot for us to know and to know what health effects will there be on the folks using them in the future.”
Right now, the side-effects of e-cigarettes remain unclear.
So the debate continues: do they lead young people to smoke real cigarettes, or are they a healthy way to kick the habit?
The head of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association called this FDA ruling unfortunate. He says it’ll force 9 million Americans back to tobacco cigarettes.
The vaping industry is worth .5 billion a year. This ruling will have a significant impact on the way it operates.
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