Updated 9:41 a.m. ET Thursday
The FDA announced Thursday long-awaited regulations for electronic cigarettes that would for the first time ban their sale to minors and require health warnings on the devices nationwide.
The FDA rules will require that makers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco-related products register their products and ingredients with the FDA within the next two years. The FDA-required warning labels will caution users against the risks of nicotine addiction.
“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” said outgoing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement. Sebelius announced her upcoming retirement earlier this month.
However, the government will not immediately restrict television advertisements and flavorings that could target younger consumers.
The new regulations will be open to public comment and the possibility of legal challenges before becoming final.
E-cigarettes have been exploding in popularity, recently becoming a multibillion-dollar industry. Cities and states across the U.S. have already begun imposing their own restrictions on the nicotine-delivering devices in the absence of federal regulations.
“I call the market for e-cigarettes the wild, wild West in the absence of regulations,” Mitchell Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, told reporters, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The health impact of the devices remains unclear.
This post has been updated to reflect the FDA’s publication of its proposed rules.