Last May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new rules that extend federal regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, and other forms of smoke and smokeless tobacco. As patients of our family dentist in Erie, CO know, smoking or using tobacco products greatly impacts the health of your teeth and gums. Not only does the use of tobacco hurt your oral health, it can also cause permanent damage to your overall health by increasing your risk of a variety of long-term illnesses.
Considering the serious health consequences linked to tobacco use, it’s encouraging that these new rules mark the first U.S. government has prohibited the sale of e-cigs, pipe and hookah tobacco, and cigars to those under the age of 18.
While cigarettes have received the majority of attention when it comes to the dangers of underage smoking, the lack of regulation concerning e-cigarettes have caused the number of kids who experiment with tobacco to grow considerably.
Alarming Growth of E-Cig Use Among Kids
Smoking contributes to nearly 500,000 deaths annually, according to the Food and Drug Administration. E-cig use among high school students has grown from less than 2 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015. The use of hookahs has also grown dramatically in recent years as well.
Roughly 3 million middle and high school students tried e-cigs in 2015, according to the FDA. The FDA’s report also noted that high school age boys smoked cigars about roughly the same rate as cigarettes.
Between 2013 and 2014, nearly 80 percent of you tobacco users reported trying a flavored tobacco within the last 30 days, and they cited the appealing flavors as the primary reason why, according to a joint study between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the FDA. The results of this study and others make it clear that the popularity of many tobacco brands come from flavored products and marketing targeted to youths.
Implementation of New Regulations
The new rules crafted by the FDA seek to restrict the access youths younger than 18 have to tobacco products. Scheduled to into effect in August, the new guidelines include the following regulations:
- Tobacco products of any kind cannot be sold to those under the age of 18.
- A photo ID must verify a buyer’s age at the time of purchase.
- Tobacco products can no longer be sold in vending machine unless in an adults only area (like a casino or bar).
- Tobacco companies can no longer distribute free samples.
The regulations will also make it more difficult for tobacco companies to release new products without undergoing more thorough screening from the FDA. Tobacco manufacturers will now be required to submit applications to the FDA to market their new products. The FDA hopes these new rules will prevent misleading claims by manufacturers while providing the agency the opportunity to evaluate what’s in tobacco products, how they’re made, and to publicize the risks that come with using them.
Tobacco use carries a real risk for kids and adults. With these new regulations in place, your family dentist in Erie, CO hopes that kids will have all the information needed to make an informed decision whether they want to smoke when old enough.