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In a new rule, the federal government announced that it’ll be regulating tobacco (or nicotine) in its many forms. Previously, products that deliver nicotine such as e-cigarettes, dissolvables, pipe tobacco, cigars, hookah, and novel and future products have not been formally regulated by the government. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stepped in to regulate these products in the same way they’ve been standardizing traditional tobacco cigarettes. One feature of the new rule stipulates that nicotine products will be prohibited from being sold to minors; the e-cigarette industry was reportedly worth an estimated $3.7 billion last year.

Prior to the new rule, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products monitored cigarettes, roll-your-own-tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. CNN states that the new rule will not go into effect immediately because companies will need time to comply. Here’s what’s changing in the near future: By August 8th of this year, companies will have to provide a detailed listing of the ingredients in their products, as well as research findings concerning public health and the use of their products.

While the rate of teen smoking has decreased, e-cigarette use actually tripled in just one year to 13.4% in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even adult use of e-cigarettes has gone up about 12.6%. Some Americans are under the impression that e-cigarettes pose less of a threat than do traditional cigarettes or other forms of tobacco or nicotine, but new research is constantly surfacing to inform the general population of the abounding risks of using products like these.

The new rule focuses on helping prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluating the ingredients of tobacco products and how they’re made, and communicating their potential risks to the public. Because of the many kid-friendly flavors of e-cigarettes – i.e. gummy bear, cookies and cream, or atomic fireball candy – the products will now have to come in child-resistant packaging. Companies will have to show what’s in their products and the government will have a say in what inevitably goes into them. Similar to currently monitored tobacco and nicotine products, companies will have to register with the FDA and feature health warnings on their packages and in their advertisements.

The FDA plans on sending inspectors to retail stores to ensure the compliance of not selling to minors. Tobacco products won’t be allowed to be sold in vending machines (unless they’re in adult-only facilities) and the distribution of free samples will be prohibited. To view more details about the final rule, click here.

Encouraging continued positive change among young people’s initial or continued use of nicotine products can be difficult, but 3rd Millennium Classrooms offers a solution. Nicotine 101 is a one-hour online course that provides the necessary tools for high school and college students to make healthy choices about tobacco and nicotine use. It addresses healthy and unhealthy behaviors and provides valuable information on the long-term use and adverse health effects of using nicotine. Presented in a motivational interviewing style, Nicotine 101 empowers young people to make their own decisions about nicotine use and can ultimately lead America’s next generation to make better health decisions for their futures.

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