WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo counties) today praised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s finalization of a federal rule that classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products, making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors younger than 18, but noted the FDA must move quickly to ensure the health and safety of children regarding such products.

The finalized rule extends the FDA’s authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others. This historic rule helps implement the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The finalization of the rule comes one day after California raised the legal smoking age to 21.

“The FDA finally announced that it will regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. This means that e-cigarettes can no longer be legally sold to minors under the age of 18. California is, of course, ahead of the curve when it comes to public health, demonstrated yesterday when Governor Jerry Brown signed the law raising the legal smoking age to 21,” Speier said. “Although the FDA’s action is a necessary first step, the fight is far from over. That is why I am urging the FDA to act swiftly in the enforcement of this new federal rule, a rule which has taken nearly seven years to come to fruition. I also urge the FDA to take this issue further by ensuring e-cigarettes are not marketed or advertised to children and establishing child proof packaging standards, as outlined in my SMOKE Act (H.R. 1517), which is dedicated to ensuring our children are not in danger of being poisoned.”

The FDA’s rule restricting youth access, expected to go into effect in 90 days, has numerous provisions to restrict minors’ access to e-cigarettes including:
•    Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years (both in person and online);
•    Requiring age verification by photo ID;
•    Not allowing the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility); and
•    Not allowing the distribution of free samples.


The new rule does not apply to products on the market prior to February 2007. Further information on the requirements of the rule, products included in the rule, and the schedule for implementing the rule for new products can be found on the FDA’s website.