While federal law does not ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, state governments are increasingly stepping in with laws and policies regarding the use of the popular products. The majority of these bans involve the sale of electronic cigarettes to those under 18, which the electronic cigarette industry fully supports.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a law last week banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18 in the state and characterizing e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. Colorado is the second state to restrict e-cigarette sales to minors following New Jersey. Arizona is next to vote on a ban.
Other bans have been rolling out in high schools and college campuses including schools in Washington, Florida and New York.
Managing member of V2 Cigs, Jay Meistrell, stands behind the bans to those under legal age. “Our products have always been intended for current smokers of legal smoking age. It’s on our website. It’s on our packaging, “says Meistrell.
Electronic cigarettes have only been on the US market for a few years, and function without burning tobacco. Instead, they turn a liquid nicotine solution into an odor free water vapor, which is reportedly safer than cigarette smoke. While new studies show they are more successful than smoking cessation methods like nicotine patches or gum, conclusive studies on their safety are still ongoing.
While manufacturers and supporters of e-cigarettes have no objection to banning sales to children, some bans seem to go too far. Recently, South Dakota healthcare providers banned their use on campuses as an amendment to a wide spreading tobacco policy already in place.
Providers included in the ban include Regional Health of Rapid City, Avera McKennan of Sioux Falls and Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Despite a lack of impartial information regarding electronic cigarette safety and their smoking cessation success, Dale Gisi, director of human resources at Regional Health stands behind the policy.
“We believe it’s important to model healthy behaviors,” says Gisi, leading many to see the ban as an invasion on their human rights.
“This is not modeling healthy behaviors; this is enforcing behaviors that others believe as unhealthy. This is prohibition, says Rapid City resident Sean Jenkins. “Are they going to ban cupcakes and candy bars next due to rising health insurance costs from obesity?
“Banning electronic cigarettes is both counterproductive and premature”, says Jenkins. “E-cigarettes are helping people to quit smoking. Shouldn’t that be supported by health care advocates?”