Ever since the electronic cigarette has gained popularity in the United States, many legislators have viewed the product as a ploy for big tobacco to circumvent current anti-smoking laws. But the truth is that it has only been recently since tobacco companies have taken interest in the new tobacco product. And does it really matter who is selling e-cigarettes? Yes tobacco peddlers have a history of not-so-ethical behavior, but the same could be said for the financial services industry. Would it matter if Bank of America were selling e-cigarettes? It shouldn’t. What should matter is the science behind the product. Here are the questions (and answers) that legislators should be asking when deciding the fate of the technology:
Q. Does it cause harm to the user? If so, how does it compare to a tobacco cigarette?
A. Since 2007 when e-cigarettes were introduced there have been no reports of any major issues from e-cigarette users. However long term effects can not be known. Based on one study done at The University of Athens in Greece, using an e-cig for 10 min did increase airway resistance. However in the same article on MedicalNewsToday.com, it states:
The medical profession and scientists generally agree that e-cigarettes, if they do pose any dangers to health, are much less harmful than tobacco smoking.
Conclusion: Based on these facts, a reasonable response would be to further test, study, and monitor the product. If an issue arises investigate and regulate appropriately. For instance, it may be prudent to force manufacturers to label e-cigarettes “May cause an increase in airway resistance”. What is not reasonable is to force label the product as “May cause cancer” simply because tobacco cigarettes do so.
Q. Does it emit toxins or odor?
A. No. Based on this study performed, second hand e-cigarette vapor is not harmful. As for odor, it is very minimal if at all (depends on the e-liquid used). It can be compared to mild perfume.
Conclusion: Legislators should base any potential e-cigarette ban on facts, not on tobacco cigarette laws. And it is unreasonable to ban it because it looks like smoking. Drinking a root beer can look like drinking a beer, but there are no plans to ban root beer drinking in public.
So What Is Going On With E-Cigs And Legislation?
Federally in the United States, e-cigarettes are considered a tobacco product and under the jurisdiction of the FDA via the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The FDA has not yet given any specific regulations regarding the e-cigarette, but they are expected. Of course, it is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors, which would include the e-cigarette; or at least an e-cigarette with nicotine in it.
On a State and Local level, things are much more complicated. There are many proposed legislations about banning e-cigarette use in public, essentially expanding current anti-smoking laws to cover e-cigs. Some areas have even went as far as to try and stop their sale. We encourage all interested parties to visit the map of areas of concern to find out if their local legislators are trying to misrepresent electronic cigarettes and impose unscientific regulations.
Visit the interactive map to see if your local legislators are working against the electronic cigarette!