The FDA is taking more aggressive steps to rein in some aspects of e-cigarette marketing in its finalized rule, including a ban on sales to minors. The new regulations also require health warnings in ads and on product packages, prohibits the distribution of free samples, and requires manufacturers to show that the products meet applicable public health standards before receiving authorization from the FDA.
But e-cigarettes can continue to be on the market for three years while their manufacturers submit — and the FDA reviews — their new tobacco applications and the products are not bound by the same advertising restrictions that regular tobacco cigarettes must follow. In the meantime, use among teens is increasing even though the U.S. Surgeon General has called the products a significant health risk to youngsters. Here’s some key issues to be aware of regarding e-cigarette marketing:
Unknown risks: While much of the marketing of e-cigarettes has centered around the claim that vaping products are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, the jury is still out on that. In fact, California issued a health warning about their “toxicity” and advised residents not to smoke them. The FDA maintains that the risks associated with e-cigarettes have not been fully studied. At issue is the nicotine in the products and the chemicals in the vapor that is emitted. Despite this health concerns, a TINA.org review of more than 150 e-cigarette websites found that half indicate in some way that vaping products are safe or a healthy alternative to tobacco.