What Does the FDA Say About Vape Advertising?

Bethan Jenkins

July 18th, 2017


Man with concealed identity smoking a controversial vape is a health risk

Just a few years ago, tobacco users would have been inhaling and exhaling fumes from a regular cigarette, cigar, or joint. Nowadays, the act of vaping has taken the smoking community by storm, with some of the electric devices (commonly known as vaporizers or e-cigarettes), containing water vapor that is free from both tobacco and nicotine. Unlike smoking, vaping is claimed to be a healthier choice. In fact, there are heaps of benefits associated with vaping, which has created a brand new industry of its own.

From the opportunities vaping brings for slashing the risks of smoking-related disease, to the many flavors on offer, there is no wonder why so many people are joining the e-cig movement! According to Time Magazine, (at least) one in 10 American adults now vapes. Although the job opportunities in this flourishing industry are abundant and the number of smokers is reducing, advertisers of vape products are not being let off the hook when it comes to advertising their smokeless tobacco, e-liquid, and vape pens like e-hookahs.

Why do people vape and is it a safer alternative to regular tobacco products?

There is a reason why people choose to use an e-cigarette for vaping purposes. Aside from the fact there is no risk of burning holes in clothes and smelling like a dirty ashtray after getting a nicotine hit, e-cigarettes allow the nicotine to absorb directly into the bloodstream, which essentially stimulates the central nervous system. Just like with any other nicotine-based product, the e-liquid contained in an vaping device will boost the levels of dopamine in the brain, thus contributing to nicotine addiction.

Considered a good way to help a person quit smoking, research suggests that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking. However, since nicotine is a highly addictive drug, the chances of someone who vapes being at risk of other types of drug addiction increases with the use of e-cigarettes. Many e-liquids contain chemicals that, when exposed to the lungs, can potentially cause breathing problems. Nonetheless, they are deemed safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reveals New Rules for Vaping

Despite the fact the use of e-cigarettes is on the rise, the popularity of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) has not distracted from people’s tobacco addiction. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released new regulations designed to shield the health of young Americans. The rules states that minors can no longer buy e-cigarettes in stores or online based on the Government Regulation of E-cigarettes. The advertising, promotion, sale, manufacturing, import/export, packaging, labeling, and distribution of e-cigarettes and vaping products is now being regulated by the FDA. Accessories are excluded from this rule, which does include e-cigarette components and parts.

FDA Rules for Tobacco Product Manufacturers

Listen up all of you tobacco product manufacturers out there – in order to comply with FDA’s new tobacco regulations, you ought to enlighten yourself on the rules pertaining to the manufacturing, modifying, fabricating, assembling, labeling, repacking, relabeling, mixing, processing, and importing of any product that contains tobacco.

Not sure if you are a tobacco product manufacturer? Well, let’s put it simply – if you prepare or mix e-liquids for vaporizers, or if you are a manufacturer/modifier of vaporizers and actually distribute those products to buyers, you will be both a tobacco product manufacturer and a retailer.

Here’s an overview of the steps you ought to take to comply with the FDA rules as a tobacco product manufacturer:

  • Report user fee information
  • Pay user fees
  • Register your tobacco/vaping establishment and submit the list of products you sell, including advertisements and labeling
  • Submit ingredient listing
  • Submit tobacco health documents
  • Include the required warning statements, such as warning plans for smokeless tobacco, on all advertisements and packages
  • Include information relating to the harmful and potentially harmful constituents.

Should you wish to promote/advertise your vaping product as a product with reduced harm or risk for the user, you must be aware of the deadline. What is the deadline, you ask? Let’s take a look:

  • Small scale tobacco product manufacturers must submit tobacco health documents by November 8, 2017
  • Ingredient listings must be submitted by November 8, 2017 for non-“small scale tobacco product manufacturers” or by May 8, 2018 for small-scale tobacco manufacturers
  • Products with modified risk claims, such as “mild”, “light” or “low” must stop being manufactured by November 8, 2017.

FDA Rules for Selling E-Cigarettes and Other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

The rules for retail sales of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) currently state that e-cigarettes or ENDS must not be sold in vending machines, to customers aged below 18, or to somebody who is unable to present a valid form of identification.

Products that are considered to be E-Cigarettes and other ENDS could be one of the following:

  • Vape pens
  • Electronic pipes
  • Personal vaporizers
  • E-hookahs
  • E-cigarettes
  • E-cigars

From August 10, 2018, the following rules will apply:

  • E-cigarettes or ENDS must not be displayed with advertisements, unless they include a health warning statement.
  • E-cigarettes or ENDS must not be distributed or sold without a health warning statement on the package.

Product listings for e-liquid, e-cigarettes, and vape pens, as well as your establishment, can be registered on the FDA’s Electronic Registration and Listing Systems (FURLS). The online system is electronic and secure. The CTP’s Document Control Center can be contacted by mail if you are unable to submit online.

Exporting Tobacco Vaping Products Outside of the United States

In the event that some (or all of) your customer base is located outside of the States, you will not be required to make a report to the FDA of your exports. On the other hand, the product may be deemed misbranded or adulterated unless it is:

  • Not sold in conflict with the country’s laws in which you choose to export
  • Sold in accordance with the foreign purchaser’s expectations
  • Shipped in a package that is clearly labeled for its exporting intent

Any products that do not conform to the standards set out by the Tobacco Control Act will be reported to Congress by the FDA. Various FDA compliance webinars can be viewed on the official website to ensure participants comply with all rules and requirements linked to the advertising, marketing, and sale of tobacco products.

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Bethan Jenkins

About Bethan Jenkins

Bethan is a full-time wanderluster, traveler, and digital nomad with 7 years of experience in the freelance writing world. She has mastered the art of beating jet lag and using hammocks as an office for content curation.

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