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U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), and e-pipes are some of the many terms used to describe electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). ENDS are noncombustible tobacco products.

These products use an “e-liquid” that may contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients. The liquid is heated to create an aerosol that the user inhales.

ENDS may be manufactured to look like conventional cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens or USB flash drives. Larger devices, such as tank systems or mods, bear little or no resemblance to cigarettes.

Respiratory Illnesses Associated with Use of Vaping Products

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working tirelessly to investigate the distressing incidents of severe respiratory illness associated with use of vaping products.

“The Real Cost” E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign
FDA’s award-winning youth tobacco prevention campaign, “The Real Cost,” expands to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

Statistics about E-cigarette Use among U.S. Youth

  • Among middle and high school students, 3.6 million were current users of e-cigarettes in 2020. 1
  • More than 8 out of 10 current youth users of e-cigarettes use flavored e-cigarettes, with fruit, mint, candy, and menthol flavors among the most commonly used. 1
  • According to a 2013-2014 survey, 81 percent of current youth e-cigarette users cited the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use. 2

FDA Regulation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

In 2016, FDA finalized a rule extending CTP’s regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) that meet the definition of a tobacco product. 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 components and parts of ENDS include:

  • E-liquids
  • A glass or plastic vial container of e-liquid
  • Cartridges
  • Atomizers
  • Certain batteries
  • Cartomizers and clearomizers
  • Digital display or lights to adjust settings
  • Tank systems
  • Drip tips
  • Flavorings for ENDS
  • Programmable software

Products marketed for therapeutic purposes (for example, marketed as a product to help people quit smoking) are regulated by FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). FDA published a rule clarifying when products made or derived from tobacco are regulated as tobacco products, drugs, and/ or devices.

In January 2020, FDA issued an enforcement policy on unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarette products, including fruit and mint flavors, that appeal to kids. For more information, see the final guidance: Enforcement Priorities for Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) and Other Deemed Products on the Market Without Premarket Authorization.

Manufacturing Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and E-Liquids

If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import ENDS, you must comply with the requirements for manufacturers.

CTP’s Office of Small Business Assistance can answer specific questions about requirements of small businesses and how to comply with the law. This office also provides online educational resources to help regulated industry understand FDA regulations and policies.

Required Nicotine Addictiveness Warning on Packages and Advertisements

Beginning in 2018, all “covered” tobacco products* must bear the required nicotine addictiveness warning statement on product packages and advertisements. *Note: Cigars, which are also “covered” tobacco products, have additional required warning statements.

Retail Sales of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and, E-Liquids

Note: On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available, and the information on this page will be updated accordingly in a timely manner.

If you sell ENDS, e-liquids, or their components or parts made or derived from tobacco, please read this summary of federal rules that retailers must follow.

You can find a list of retailer responsibilities for ENDS in the final rule Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In addition, our website offers more information on regulations, guidance, and webinars for retailers.

Vape Shops That Mix E-Liquids or Modify Products

If you operate a vape shop that mixes or prepares liquid nicotine or nicotine-containing e-liquids, or creates or modifies any type of ENDS, you may be considered a manufacturer. As a result, some vape shops may have legal responsibilities as both manufacturers and retailers of tobacco products. Please also see the Guidance: Interpretation of and Compliance Policy for Certain Label Requirement; Applicability of Certain Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Requirements to Vape Shops.

Importing Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and E-Liquids

Tobacco products imported or offered for import into the United States must comply with all the applicable requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

You can also learn more about the importation process in the FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9, Import Operations and Actions.

If you have questions about importing a specific tobacco product, please contact the FDA district into which your product will be imported.

Report a Problem with a Tobacco Product or Potential Tobacco Product Violations

If you have experienced undesired health or quality problems with a specific tobacco product, you can report a problem with any tobacco product, including vapes, to the FDA. Knowledge about adverse experiences can help the FDA identify health or quality problems beyond those normally associated with tobacco product use.

If you believe these products are being sold to minors, or you see another potential violation of the FD&C Act or FDA’s tobacco regulations, report the potential violation.

You can read the adverse experience reports for tobacco on the Tobacco Product Problem Reports page.

Get an overview of FDA regulation of vapes, e-cigarettes, and other electronic nicotine delivery systems. You can also find statistics about current use.

The 12 Best Weed Vaporizers to Buy in 2020

Give up the smoke with a vape that’s packing some serious (but subtle) tech.

Vaping weed doesn’t reek. There’s no smoke to tear up your throat. And unless you make a spectacle of it, dubbing yourself that guy, it’s subtle. Those who vape their cannabis often do so because the dosage is easier to control—chalk that up to the wonders of technology—and the effects feel less jolting than more traditional means of getting high. (Although, folks who don’t regularly partake might find vaping to be more intense than smoking, according to one study.) To be fair, you do lose that transformative experience of coughing your esophagus out over a poorly wrapped joint or getting so high off of one rip from a communal bong that the stars fall to Earth and the moon waves hello. Hey, sacrifices must be made.

Vapes make dry herb or concentrate hot enough to activate the THC that sets you sailing, but not so hot the cannabis combusts into smoke, defeating the entire purpose of vaping. To broadly summarize the tech in the least boring way possible, there are two kinds of vape heating systems used to extract high-making chemicals and flavor from cannabis: one that uses conduction heating and one that uses convection heating.

Conduction puts your weed in direct contact with the vape’s heating element—like its coils—often getting you a faster heat time. However, if your product is too close to the heating element for too long, it’ll burn. (Simply shifting it around in the vape’s chamber is an easy fix.) Convection vapes tend to be more finicky and more expensive, but oftentimes are worth it for the vapor alone, especially if you prefer using dry herb. With these, the weed product doesn’t come into direct contact with the heating element. Instead, very hot air from the heating element circulates through the vape with every pull, indirectly vaporizing the product. On one hand, your product won’t combust, and the vapor is more even and flavorful. On the other, convection vapes can take longer to fire up, so patience is a virtue. These days, vapes can stick to one type of heating system or the other, but many market themselves as neither or both.

If you’re here, reading these words, then you’re likely already sold on vaping weed in one of its forms. But we’d be negligent to not quickly run through the science of weed vaping. Going the smoke-free route with a vaporizer is considered “likely less harmful than smoking” marijuana, because smoke itself is bad for your lungs. You know, the whole Joe Camel thing. The CDC has linked lung illness and some deaths to vape products with THC—remember the vape outcry of 2019?—but the big asterisk is that the THC products to blame were for the most part acquired from bootleg, black market sources. The lesson here is don’t be an idiot about where you get your concentrate. And because, annoyingly, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, hard-hitting research about vaping it remains scarce in these early days of legalization.

Speaking of legalization, getting high continues to be something of a political act, not just in terms of fighting for legality, but in terms of fighting for social justice in the cannabis industry. Even as it booms, the industry is rife with inequality, serving the well-funded startups and venture capitalists more than it does the grassroots efforts that made cannabis legit. Buy a real nice vape for yourself, then make the effort to purchase product from dispensaries and companies that fight for incarcerated people locked up for nonviolent drug offenses, invest in the BIPOC communities that are being boxed out of the industry, or fund political initiatives to end the so-called war on drugs, which has long given police an excuse to target people of color.

We know you just want to vape, but vape smartly. Here are a dozen of the best—and best-looking—weed vaporizers you can get right now. Pair one with quality flower or concentrate (or both) and get to it.

Here are the best (and best looking) weed vaporizers and marijuana vapes you can buy online right now, and everything you need to know about vaping cannabis before you do. ]]>