FDA Cracking Down on Underage Sale of Electronic Smoking Devices

NY Small businesses that sell electronic smoking devices like vape pens and e-cigarettes will now have to treat them as “tobacco products” thanks to new FDA regulations intended to crack down on underage sales of these items.
This week, a earlier ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) goes into effect which prohibits the sale of vape pens, e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices to consumers under 18 years of age. For small business retailers, this means the sale of e-cigarettes is no different from the sale of cigars and other traditional cigarettes, meaning they must verify a consumer’s age using a valid photo ID.  Adults under the age of 26 must show a photo identification to buy them.
The FDA will also require manufacturers to register with it and place warning labels on all product packaging.

The regulation is intended to immediately impact the use of these products by young users.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use of electronic smoking devices among teens tripled in a year. Another recent study found that vapor from e-cigarettes contains 31 harmful chemicals, including potential carcinogens.Until the introduction of these regulations, the electronic smoking device market has been a virtual “wild west” industry.  Products were virtually unchecked, including those that included the sale of vials of liquid nicotine, with little or no quality check.

Small retail businesses will immediately take notice of the new rules for selling these devices, including corner stores and smoke shops that are prevalent throughout New York City.  It is unclear if or when any state inspection policy will begin for enforcement of these regulations, but the best advice for any small business selling these products is to self-regulate these sales before incurring any possible penalties.

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