Vaping in the United States has grown to a $13 billion industry, with numbers that continue to grow daily.
First emerging as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, the vaping industry now has 500 brands selling over 7,700 different varieties of e-juices. This huge growth was exciting for vape enthusiasts everywhere, especially those who were using it as a means to quit cigarettes.
In 2016, the FDA stepped in and continues to place stricter regulations on the purchasing and manufacturing of these products. Read on for our guide on everything you need to know about current vape FDA Regulations and what could take place in the future.
Creative Innovations in Vaping Culture
Vapes or “e-cigarettes” are smoke-free alternatives to regular tobacco cigarettes. Since its introduction, vaping has attracted a serious following. This has led to an explosion of vaping products.
E-liquids are now available in tons of flavors and can be purchased with or without nicotine. Manufacturers are getting really creative with tools and blends, which is good news if you’re into vape culture. However, as it’s getting more popular, it’s being met with some pushback and new vape FDA regulations.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
Effective in 2009, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. This law gave the FDA the power to regulate the marketing, manufacturing, and distribution of these products. It’s designed to limit nicotine-containing tobacco products to the public.
New Vape FDA Regulations
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act now includes vape products, allowing the FDA to regulate the vaping market.
Since its introduction, vaping has been controversial, mainly due to a lack of knowledge about its long-term health effects. It’s also argued that its wide variety of flavors might make it appeal to the younger generation who weren’t smoking cigarettes before. This would create a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine.
Before, vape distributors had a lot of freedom when it came to manufacturing and distributing their products. However, these speculations have led the FDA to restrict where vape products can be purchased, who can get them, and how they are presented to the public.
As a consumer, these new vape FDA regulations may have an impact on your purchasing in the future.
Even though the new regulations are more restrictive than ever before, they’re not necessarily a bad thing, especially for responsible manufacturers and retailers. They help regulate these products in a way that’s safe for consumers.
Do these regulations reduce the available products out there? Yes. But they’re designed to make sure you know what you’re getting, too.
With that considered, some rules and regulations aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, many of the vape FDA guidelines are beneficial because they help preserve your safety.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDs)
Vapes, e-cigarettes, and e-liquids are all part of a family of products. This family is officially recognized as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or ENDs for short. These products are the focus of the new laws and are now faced with stricter regulations regarding their sale to consumers.
The ENDs product family includes all of the following:
- E-liquids and E-juices
- Vials and containers containing e-juice
- Lighted Display Settings
- Vape tanks
- Drip tips
- Vape flavors
Now that vape products are an officially recognized group of products, a lot of the ambiguity was taken out regarding their regulation. Although many consider vapes to be a safer alternative to cigarettes, there was previously a gray area regarding their manufacturing and selling. In order to provide consumers with a safe purchasing experience, new regulations soon went into place.
2016: A Big Year for Vape FDA Regulations
Before 2016, there weren’t many rules when it came to manufacturing and reselling “ENDs” or vape products. It was a relatively free market without regulations to adhere to.
However, when nicotine is involved, the FDA has to eventually step in.
In 2016, the FDA extended their own jurisdiction to cover all “ENDs,” including vapes, e-liquids, and all other vape products. Manufacturers and retailers were given a short grace period in order to comply with all the new requirements that came with the regulations.
Here are the main details of the laws that were set forth in 2016:
- Preventing sales to minors by requiring age verification from on-site and online retailers
- Labeling requirements on all products containing nicotine, stating it as an addictive chemical
- Transparency from manufacturers regarding the ingredients of their e-liquids
- No free samples of nicotine-containing products or parts
- No vending machine sales unless it’s in an adult-only venue
Some manufacturers and distributors of ENDs took a hit with these new regulations, but many reputable dealers complied without too many issues. These rules weeded out a lot of the questionable marketing practices that were happening. This made the marketplace a more transparent and safe place for consumers.
Preventing Vaping for Minors
While the many flavors of e-liquids can make vapes an appealing switch for adults, there’s another side that the FDA is looking to address. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 high school students are using nicotine-containing vapes. Although this was not the original intent of vaping, it’s an epidemic that can’t be ignored.
Fruit flavors and interesting blends made to taste like candy are just a few examples of what the FDA considers to be “too appealing” for younger generations. There are some concerns that crafty flavors might attract a young crowd of new nicotine addicts.
While the FDA’s concerns make sense, most vapers are legal adults. Many rely on new vape flavors to keep things interesting. This is especially true if they’re using it to kick a cigarette habit.
The new vape FDA regulations are meant to strike a balance here. Vapes should be a favorable alternative for adults looking to quit smoking. However, their sale should be regulated to prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.
Though there’s no “perfect” solution to this problem, the new vape FDA regulations have a heavy focus on preventing minors from using e-cigarettes, vapes, and other vape products.
New laws require age verification on all fronts, both in-store and online. No one under the age of 18 can purchase vapes, parts, or e-juices. There’s also a ban on carrying flavored products in gas stations and other all-age retail stores.
Vape Flavoring Restrictions
As of now, while some argue that a variety of flavors might make e-cigarettes too appealing for minors, there are no vape FDA regulations that restrict manufacturers from making these flavors. This is good news if you’re one of the countless vape enthusiasts who enjoy these blends as a fun and interesting alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
Despite some talk from the FDA that flavor bans would take place along with the new vape FDA regulations, the current consensus is this: without interesting flavors to try, many adults won’t want to make the switch from regular cigarettes to vaping.
However, as of 2018, the FDA is talking about some serious restrictions when it comes to vaping flavors. One of their main focuses is to pull flavored e-cigarettes from gas stations and retail stores in an effort to reduce the number of young people getting addicted to nicotine. This won’t include menthol or mint flavors, as these are similar to the current offerings of tobacco cigarettes as is.
Despite speculations of these flavor bans, it’s unclear when (or if) they will go into effect. For now, the laws are just becoming stricter to prevent minors from purchasing these products.
Strict Labelling Requirements
Labeling on vapes, e-liquids, and other nicotine-containing products is now more strictly enforced than ever, thanks to the new vape FDA regulations. Like the other new guidelines put in place, these are designed to be transparent and ensure that consumers know exactly what they’re getting.
The new label reads as follows:
“Warning: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
But there’s more to it than that: in addition to requiring a label on all vape products, there are also strict vape FDA regulations that dictate where and how large the label must be. As you probably already know, the FDA doesn’t mess around when it comes to guidelines like this.
Here are the main requirements for the nicotine labels as required by the FDA:
- The label must take up one-third of the product’s packaging. This prevents manufacturers from placing it so it won’t be easily detected by the consumer.
- The font on the label must be 12 points or higher.
- The font must also be a sans serif font, such as Arial. This is because these types of fonts are generally easier to read.
- The text and background should be high-contrast, i.e. black on white or white on black. Again, this is designed to ensure that these labels are highly legible for consumers.
Vape FDA Regulations for Manufacturers
The new vape FDA regulations have an impact on the production side of things, too. Manufacturers of vape products and e-liquids now have stricter regulations for transparency regarding the contents of their products. There are also new fees to pay in order to keep selling, too.
Here are some of the main changes that manufacturers are seeing from the new vape FDA regulations:
- New user fees and user fee information to submit to the FDA
- Requirements to register the establishment and disclose its full list of products
- Full ingredient lists must be submitted for all products
- New paperwork to educate and acknowledge ingredients used in products
New vape FDA regulations are designed to ensure that your vape manufacturers are selling a safe product to you, the consumer. Before these laws were in place, you didn’t always know what you were getting. As long as your distributor is reputable, compliant, and transparent, they’ll still be able to offer you a wide selection of products to try.
Vape FDA Regulations for Retailers
The new vape FDA regulations impact not only the manufacturing process of e-cigarettes and e-liquids. They impact the buying process for these products as well. Retailers who sell vapes and e-liquids are now being held to stricter guidelines for how they present their products and who they sell them to.
One of the most important FDA vape regulations for retailers is the strict ban on selling vape products and e-liquids to customers under the age of 18.
Retailers are now required to check IDs for any customer that looks younger than 27 years old. While this puts an extra step in the purchase process, it’s designed to prevent these products from getting in the hands of minors who shouldn’t be using them.
In addition to stricter regulations regarding sales to minors, retailers also have a few more new laws to comply with. Here are the big ones to know here:
- Giving away free samples (including parts and equipment) is strictly prohibited, even if your consumer is over the age of 18
- Vending machine sales are only allowed in adult-only facilities
- Products cannot be displayed or sold with health warnings on the label
Just like the new vape FDA regulations for manufacturers, these new laws are designed to protect consumers. They also prevent the sale of vapes and nicotine-containing products to minors.
As long as retailers are compliant, they can continue to sell vape products and e-liquids to consumers over the age of 18. Since most of us don’t want minors getting a hold of our products anyway, these new laws aren’t much trouble to adhere to.
What Do the Vape FDA Regulations Mean for the Future of Vaping?
While new vape FDA regulations do mean more work for retailers and manufacturers, there’s not currently too much for reputable dealers to worry about. The FDA hasn’t really limited product offerings or flavor options yet, they’ve just made things more transparent for consumers regarding the contents of the products they’re purchasing as well as where it’s all coming from.
That being said, if the FDA does decide to ban flavored e-juices, this could have a huge impact on the industry. We don’t know when (or if) this will happen, but for now, we’re just staying compliant with what’s already in place.
Check out our blog for more information on vape products and vape culture.