The FDA decided that the benefit to adults trying to quit smoking outweighs the risk of teenagers becoming hooked.
The permitted products are tobacco-flavored, as opposed to the sweet flavors popular with younger people.
E-cigarettes have been widely sold in the US for the past decade, but their take-up by teenagers has caused concern.
Manufacturers have been waiting more than a year for official authorization, as the FDA examined the potential pros and cons for public health.
Special FDA, which was given the power to regulate new tobacco products more than a decade ago, has been carrying out a study of e-cigarettes to decide which ones can continue to be sold.
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