The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Thursday the extension of its authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others. The products will now follow the already existing rules for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
The rules ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 18, so identification with a photo will be required to access the products. In addition, vending machines for the products are banned, unless they are in an adult-only facility. Free samples will not be allowed as well, according to an FDA statement.
“We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap,” said Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation, it will help to catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions, added Burwell.
It will also be required for the e-cigarettes and tobacco companies to have government approval on their products, provide the FDA with a list of their ingredients and place health warnings on packages and in advertisements. The rules will take effect in exactly 90 days after the announce.
The FDA expects that manufacturers will continue selling their products for up to two years while they submit for approval, and an additional year while the FDA reviews a new tobacco product application. After the time has passed, an approbation or a rejection order will be issued for the product. Only products introduced to the market after February 15, 2007, will be reviewed.
A major impact on small tobacco companies
Due to the expensive measures that require fulfilling the FDA demands, some manufacturers have said that the only winners are the large tobacco companies that have the experience and financial wherewithal to deal with the new rules, according to Adam Fleck, Morningstar equity analyst. The net result, according to Fleck, is a very fragmented e-cigarette market that is likely to be consolidated.
However, the cigar market is expected to grow to more than $8.9 billion in 2019, from the $7.4 billion in 2009, according to Euromonitor. The cigar market is currently dominated by Swisher International, Altria, and Imperial, as reported by Reuters.
Source: The Food and Drug Administration