Lawmakers Weigh in on Electronic Cigarettes


Legislators and lawmakers across the country and in different nations are considering the status of e cigarettes as electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity. In Canada and Australia, for example, e cigarettes with tobacco are banned outright.

In both countries, vaping enthusiasts have been trying to change the laws, some even arguing that e cigarettes should be given a chance in countries were traditional cigarettes – with their known health risks – are allowed. In Europe, lawmakers have been re-evaluating smoking and tobacco laws as e cigarettes have become more popular.

In the U.S., vaping fans and lawmakers have been trying to create fair laws regarding e cigs. The FDA has announced plans to regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes and accessories, leading some to speculate that the regulations would lead to a ban of the products. In response, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives (CASAA) supported a petition at the White House in early 2013. That petition had more than 75 000 signatures and asked the administration to prevent the FDA from banning or controlling the sale of e cigarettes.

In Oklahoma, a bill, SB 802, was moved forward by the Oklahoma Senate. If passed, the bill would place additional taxes on electronic cigarettes and would prevent youth from accessing e cigarettes under the Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco Act. Some pointed out that e cigarette companies already refuse to sell to minors and most electronic cigarette manufacturer websites ask visitors to verify that they are of age. Supporters of SB 802 noted that there is no state ban on selling e cigarettes to minors, so minors can currently buy the products in stores without ID.

Currently, New Jersey has one of the toughest U.S. laws regarding e cigarettes. In 2010, a ban was passed which prevented e cigarettes from being used in workplaces and public places. That same ban prevented anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing the e cigarettes. While customers could still buy e cigarettes in New Jersey, the ban made the state the first to ban the use of the products in public places. In most states, customers can use electronic cigarettes in most public areas.

As e cigarettes become more popular, it is likely that there will be more open debate about the products and more lawmakers will put forward bills regarding the products. Groups such as Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives (CASAA) have stated that they believe e cigarettes are closer to the nicotine patch than to traditional cigarettes because the products contain nicotine but none of the harmful additional chemicals often found in traditional tobacco and cigarettes.

It is likely that this is a debate that will continue for many years.
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