Regulating E-Cigarettes

Policies and regulations addressing the issue of e-cigarette use at the federal, state, and local levels

Federal Level

While the Tobacco Control Act was initially enacted in 2009, the FDA did not publish the final rule until May 10, 2016. When the new rule went into effect on August 8, 2016, it gave the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of all tobacco products, which now includes e-cigarettes.

The new regulations relating to tobacco use, specified by U.S. Food and Drug Administration, require:

  • Health warnings on roll-your-own tobacco, cigarette tobacco, and newly regulated tobacco products.
  • Newly regulated tobacco products to meet the applicable public health standard set by the law.
  • Marketing authorization from the FDA.
  • Domestic manufacturers to register their products and disclose the ingredients of their products.
  • Reporting of any harmful or potentially harmful ingredients in the products

The new regulations also:

  • Bans free samples.
  • Restricts youth access to newly regulated tobacco products by:
    • Not allowing products to be sold to those younger than 18 and requiring age verification from a photo ID.
    • Not allowing tobacco products to be sold in vending machines, unless in a strictly adult facility.

State of Delaware

According to The Public Health Law Center, in Delaware, e-cigarettes are defined as a tobacco substitute or electronic smoking device.

  • Youth Access law (Title 11, Chapter 5): “Tobacco substitute” means any device employing a mechanical heating element, battery, or circuit, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to deliver nicotine into the body through inhalation and that has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes, or any noncombustible product containing nicotine intended for use in such a device that has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes. 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1115(11) (2017)
  • CIAA (Title 16, Chapter 29): “Electronic smoking device”' means any product containing or delivering nicotine or any other similar substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, or vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor. 16 Del. Code Ann. §2902(3) (2017)

Restrictions in place for retail or youth access:

Smoke-free restriction for e-cigarette use:

  • Electronic smoking devices are restricted in the same manner as smoking; Prohibited in public indoor places in which smoking in prohibited. 16 Del. Code Ann. § 2903 (2017)

For more information about the specific codes that apply to these specific regulations, visit the Public Health Law Center's website.

Cited Works

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Fact’s on the FDA’s New Tobacco Rule. Silver Spring, MD: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017.

Public Health Law Center. E-Cigarette Regulations-Delaware.St. Paul, MN: Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 2017. Delaware Code Online. State of Delaware, 2017