You may have heard lots of things about e-cigs in the news, or maybe you’ve heard nothing. Either way, many people have some questions about the legal aspects surrounding electronic cigarettes.
August 8, 2016 & the FDA
On August 8th, 2016, legislation passed 90 days prior went into effect which classified electronic cigarettes and e liquids as tobacco products.
Effective on this date:
- Manufacturers and vendors in the USA are no longer able to import items created after August 8th
- All newly created products to be vigorously tested and approved by the FDA prior to release. This testing comes at a hefty premium, which will limit the resources for smaller vendors and manufacturers.
- Product packaging for e liquid will have to contain health warnings on the packaging, similar to tobacco products.
- E liquid now must be created in an FDA registered laboratory
- All e liquid must be submitted to the FDA. Any e liquid that is non-compliant will be removed from the market and vendors will be fined for distribution.
- Samples require a charge of “monetary value” which means no more free samples
As part of these changes you will notice in the next coming months:
- Lack of newer products in the US markets
- Juice manufacturers and vendors not complying with FDA guidelines to be shut down
You can read more about the timeline on SFATA.
You can read the simplified FDA regulation directly here.
How old do I have to be to vape?
In most local municipalities, the age to vape is the same as purchasing cigarettes, which is 18. There are exceptions out there however, such as 19 in Nassau County, NY and 21 in New York City. Recently, California as a state passed legislation to increase the age to 21.
Online sales in the US now require all customers to be 21 or older, including age verification with state ID, drivers license, or passport. This new restriction is part of the legislation passed in 2016 which classified e cigs as tobacco products.
Can I use the device indoors?
In the United States, there are currently only two jurisdictions where electronic cigarette use is prohibited in places that normally prohibit real cigarettes: Suffolk County, New York and the State of New Jersey. Obviously in all other areas it would be wise to ask permission first, as e-cigarettes are fairly new to the world, and you may alarm business owners who are unaware of what it is, or that it even exists. Some bar owners or restaurant owners might ask you to not “vape” in their establishment, and they’re totally in their right to do so. That being said, many people have “vaped” in department stores, on commercial aircraft, in the doctor’s office, and even in the workplace without hassle.
Didn’t I see a news story about the FDA banning these things?
The FDA halted shipments of electronic cigarettes into the United States from abroad at one point. A federal judge ruled on January 14, 2010, that they have no jurisdiction over these devices as they do not fall under the FDCA, and the FDA was ordered to release the shipments they had seized. The FDA filed for an appeal, and the order to release shipments was held aside pending further decision. The appeal is ongoing.
Where to Buy?
Right now, the best prices are most likely found on the Internet. However, if you have a reliable vendor near you, perhaps in a tobacco store or mall , you may prefer that. Just know that because they usually have higher overhead costs, you will probably pay more for the convenience of having them close to home. There are many very good vendors online. That said, there are also many not so good vendors online too. So be careful. We would advise that you get a recommendation from a friend or use one of the vendors that sponsor one of the major electronic cigarette forums online. Also, be aware that many countries have customs issues with electronic cigarettes, including the U.K., Canada and the United States. It may be safest to order from a company that is located within the country where you reside if possible, that way you won’t have to deal with any customs problems. Please be sure to check the laws for your country.
We feel it is best not to purchase from a vendor that:
- Asks you to sign up for a “free” e-cigarette
- Makes health claims (i.e., e-cigs are healthy or good for you)
- Charges more than $75 for a basic starter kit
- Offers no warranty
You can find dependable vendors here: