FDA will regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products

The move sets federal rules for age limits, product labels and health warnings.

As the debate over the health risks of e-cigarettes rages on, the FDA is stepping in to "improve public health and protect future generations." To do that, the US government will regulate e-cigs and vaping gear like it does any other tobacco product. Until now, these products haven't been subject to government oversight. With the FDA's changes, the federal law that already forbids tobacco sales to people under 18 will now apply to vaping as well. Sure, this age limit was already being enforced in some places, but this more formal announcement makes it a nation-wide law.

What's more, vaping products will be subject to the same regulations in terms of packaging and production. Manufacturers will have to register with the FDA and provide a list of products to the agency. Companies will also be required to disclose ingredients, including any harmful or potentially harmful substances, and they'll have to get approval before putting new tobacco products on the market. In terms of packaging and advertising, e-cigarette and vaping products must also feature a health warning label -- just like the brands selling regular cigarettes.

"This final rule is a foundational step that enables the FDA to regulate products young people were using at alarming rates, like e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, that had gone largely unregulated," Mitch Zeller, who leads the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a press release.

The US isn't the only country clamping down on how e-cigarettes are regulated. This week, an EU court upheld new regulations that banned advertising of the newfangled tobacco products. What's more, the EU's Tobacco Products Directive will oversee e-cigarettes for its members from now on.