Companies that manufacture e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, will come under federal review as the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday released new regulations in an effort to curb sales to minors.
The sweeping new rules, which bring the tobacco industry under federal oversight extends to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco.
Prior to the new rules, which will go into effect in 90 days, there was no federal law prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and cigars to people under 18.
Now retailers will be required to see valid photo identification and are prohibited from distributing free samples and selling tobacco products in vending machines.
"This action is a milestone in consumer protection -- going forward, the FDA will be able to review new tobacco products not yet on the market, help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, and communicate the potential risks of tobacco products," the FDA said in a statement.
Additionally, producers of e-cigarettes launched after February 2007 will need authorization from the FDA to continue marketing their products.
"The actions being taken today will help the FDA prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, as well as communicate their potential risks," the statement reads.
The FDA estimates that manufacturers will continue to sell their products for up to two years until they show that the products meet the public health standard.
Products will also be required to carry health warnings on packages and advertisements.
The new regulations come five years after the FDA announced its intent to regulate e-cigarettes, a business which has grown to an estimated $3.5 billion according to the Associated Press.
"At last, the Food and Drug Administration will have basic authority to make science-based decisions that will protect our nation's youth and the public health from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah," Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association said in a statement.