FDA extends tobacco regulations to e-cigarette manufacturers, retailers

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on products like e-cigarettes, announcing they are extending tobacco regulations on manufacturers and retailers.

There are several new rules going into effect, including no sales to anyone under the age of 18. They will also require products to have childproof packaging and warning labels. But one new rule in particular is causing a lot of concern.

Companies will now have to show what is in their products, so any local businesses that make their own e-liquid have to apply and get their products approved to continue selling them. It’s an expensive process that could ultimately put them out of business.

Shaun Copper has owned and operated Workshop Vapor Company in Colorado Springs for about a year and a half, but he and many other shop owners are worried about their future.

“There are estimates that 99 percent of the industry will be done in two years,” Copper said.

Under the new regulations, all manufacturers have to get each strength of every e-liquid flavor they make approved by the FDA.

“At my shop, I have products that I bring in from other vendors. I also have my own that I make, and so not only do I have to hope that my vendors have the means to go through these pre-market approvals, I have to look at them as well,” Copper said.

But just one application could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“You do the math and go how could anybody survive that?” Copper said.

An estimated 9 million people across the country use e-cigs or vaporizers, many of them hoping the products will help them stop smoking cigarettes.

But Copper said once these regulations go into full effect, it could ultimately hand the market right back to big tobacco companies. It could also cost people their livelihoods.

“These are jobs paying people’s bills, feeding people’s children and to have that suddenly just yanked out from under you, it’s a tough thing,” Copper said. “This is something that’s made an impact on my life and so to be facing that in 24 months it could all just be gone that quickly, that’s scary.”

The FDA’s new regulations will go into effect in 90 days.

Right now, there are several people fighting against them, hoping to help keep small shops in business.

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