What are e-cigarettes, vaporizers and other electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products?
Vapes, vaporizers, vaporizers, hookahs, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), e-cigars, and e-pipes are some of the many tobacco product terms used to describe electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
These products use an “e-liquid” which usually contains tobacco-derived nicotine, as well as flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and other ingredients. The liquid is heated to create an aerosol that the user inhales.
The ends can be manufactured to resemble conventional cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some resemble pens or USB flash drives. Larger devices, such as tank systems or mods, have little or no resemblance to cigarettes. These products may have reusable parts, or they may be disposable and used only once before being thrown away.
Are you looking for general health and safety information related to e-cigarettes, vaporizers or other extremities?
The more ENDS and other e-cigarettes are on the market, the more information we know about their health impact. This includes data on the use by young people of these products, which has led to the development of numerous educational programs designed to prevent adolescents and adolescents from using these products. Through tobacco product problem reports and tobacco product infringement reports, the FDA also knows much more about the many safety and health risks they can pose.
The FDA is committed to protecting the public health of all Americans while regulating a product that is addictive and poses health risks. We are conducting ongoing research on potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery for adults, including studies on e-cigarettes and ENDS. Many studies suggest that e-cigarettes and non-combustible tobacco products may be less harmful than combustible cigarettes. However, there is not yet enough evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes and other ENDSs are effective tools for quitting smoking.
To date, no e-cigarettes have been approved as a smoking cessation device or authorized to submit an amended risk statement, and more research is needed to understand the potential risks and benefits these products may offer to adults who use tobacco products.
Use and prevention of young people
The FDA monitors nationwide usage rates for all tobacco products, including an annual youth survey, and has seen a dramatic increase in youth use of e-cigarette products in recent years. Because of what has been termed an “epidemic” of juvenile use of these products, the FDA has prioritized prevention efforts. The agency has taken a multitude of actions to keep ENDS out of the hands of young people, from policy making to application to education.
Learn about the public education efforts and resources that have been created to reach young people who are most at risk or most vulnerable to cigarette use and nicotine addiction.
The real cost
“The Real Cost” e-cigarette prevention campaign.
The FDA’s award-winning public education campaign, “The Real Cost,” continues to prevent youth initiation and use of tobacco. In 2017, the campaign began prioritizing e-cigarette prevention messages to combat rising vaping rates among young people. The “The Real Cost” campaign also educates teens about the health consequences of cigarette smoking.
Resources in the FDA Tobacco Education Resource Library
The FDA Tobacco Education Resource Library, from the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, provides resources for tobacco education. This site offers digital and print content for state and local health officials, nonprofits, and schools to support public awareness efforts.
See Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping Resources
School material for educators
The FDA has joined forces with Scholastic to provide e-cigarette prevention information in English and Spanish to middle and high school educators.
The content includes:
Problems with the e-cigarette and potential violations
There are no safe tobacco products, including ENDS. In addition to exposing people to risks of tobacco-related illness and death, the FDA has received reports from the public on safety concerns associated with vaping products, including:
These problems can severely harm the person using the ENDS product and other people around them. There may be additional dangers, for example if a vaporizer battery catches fire near an oxygen cylinder, a propane cylinder (such as used in backyard grills), or a gas pump, or if a person has a vaporization attack during the guide. The FDA has a webpage with tips to help users avoid vaporizer fires or explosions.
If you have experienced any unwanted health or quality issues with any tobacco product, including ENDS, you can report it to the FDA. Knowing more about adverse experiences can help the FDA identify trends and causes or factors that contribute to particular incidents or health or quality problems beyond those normally associated with the use of tobacco products. You can read some adverse tobacco experience reports on the Tobacco Product Problems Reports page.
If you believe ENDS or other tobacco products are being sold to underage users or if you see another potential violation of FD&C law or FDA tobacco regulations, report the potential violation of tobacco products.
Are you a manufacturer of electronic cigarettes, vaporizers or other terminals?
The FDA regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of ENDS, including components and parts of ENDS but excluding accessories.
Examples of regulated components and parts of ENDS include:
- Electronic liquids
- A glass or plastic vial containing e-liquid
- Atomizers, the part of the ENDS that transforms e-liquid into vapor for inhalation
- Cartomizers and clearomizers, which, similar to atomizers, also deliver e-liquid in the form of vapor
- Some batteries
- Digital display or lights to adjust settings
- Tank systems
- Drip tips or mouthpieces
- Aromas for FINE
- Programmable software
Products marketed for therapeutic purposes (for example, marketed as products to help people quit smoking) are regulated by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). The FDA has published a rule that clarifies when products made or derived from tobacco are regulated as tobacco products, drugs and / or devices.
If making, modifying, mixing, manufacturing, assembling, transforming, labeling, repackaging, re-labeling or importing ENDS, the requirements for manufacturers must be met.
CTP’s Office of Small Business Assistance can answer specific questions about small business requirements and how to comply with the law. This office also provides online educational resources to help the regulated industry understand FDA regulations and policies.
Are you a reseller of ENDS products?
“This is Our Watch” is a comprehensive resource toolkit to help tobacco retailers better understand and comply with FDA tobacco regulations. Tobacco retailers play a direct role in protecting children from nicotine addiction and the deadly effects of tobacco use. Find out what tobacco retailers need to do to abide by rules designed to prevent our nation’s youth from becoming the next generation of Americans to die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.
Tobacco Retailing offers more information on federal rules for retailers to follow, as well as information on regulations, guidelines, and webinars for retailers.
Did you know?
As of December 2019, it is illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.
Vape shops that mix e-liquids or modify products
If you run a vaporizer shop that mixes or prepares liquid nicotine or nicotine-containing e-liquids, or creates or modifies any type of ENDS, in addition to selling products, you may be considered a manufacturer and must comply with the manufacturer requirements linked above.
Some vape shops may have legal responsibilities as both manufacturers and resellers of tobacco products.
For information on ENDS products authorized for marketing in the United States, see:
Note: This page does not provide a complete list of all ENDS products that may be marketed in the United States. Retailers should discuss with their suppliers the current status of demand for a particular tobacco product or the marketing authorization for any product.