FDA regulation of e-cigarettes, hookahs will help curb dramatic growth in youth tobacco use, VCU expert says

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced that it had finalized a rule extending its authority to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco.

Most notably, as part of the new federal rules – which go into effect in 90 days – retailers will be prohibited from selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco or cigars to people under the age of 18.

Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, researches the behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse, focusing primarily on nicotine and tobacco.

Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D.
Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D.

He is director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products – a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre – whose mission is to develop and apply regulatory science to the evaluation of tobacco products and to train the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists.

The new FDA regulations, Eissenberg said, will be an important step toward curbing tobacco use – particularly e-cigarette and hookah use – among young people.

“The FDA is now empowered to regulate all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, waterpipes (hookahs), cigars, and other novel tobacco products,” he said. “FDA is using this new regulatory authority to restrict sale of these tobacco products to those 18 years and older and to mandate warning labels that state that nicotine is addictive.”

“This new regulatory authority and these specific regulatory actions are important steps toward decreasing the dramatic rise in electronic cigarette use and hookah smoking among U.S. youth and young adults,” he said.


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