A bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors was raised and finally passed on Thursday 24th April 2014. This will see an amendment to be made to the Smoke-Free Air Act, which became law in the USA in 2002. This will now mean that e-cigarettes will be classed the same as regular cigarettes.
The bill has been passed despite objections from campaigners, who believe that e-cigs help people quit their use of regular cigarettes. Advocates of e-cigarettes claim that they are a healthy alternative to conventional tobacco products as they don’t produce lung-destroying tar. Unfortunately their long term medical effects are yet to be fully explored and further tests are required within the industry.
E-cigarettes are portable vaporizers, that use battery powered cartridges, which produce a nicotine-laced inhalable vapour. They are available in a variety of flavours and have become very attractive to the under 18’s. This has sparked concerns about the health of minors who have been able to buy the products easily in the past.
The bill will ban the sale of e-cigs and other vapour products to minors,along with reducing the amount of tobacco retailers who sell them to those under the age of 18. Another factor that it will address is the issue of sales of loose cigarettes.It will also prohibit free e-cigarette samples and any vending machine sales, unless in an adult only venue.
Although these proposed new rules, which have been issued by The US Food and Drug Administration, are a step in the right direction, no restrictions have as yet been made with regard to flavoured products or their online sales. This has surprised e-cigarette companies that offer the vaporizers for sale through convenience stores though, as, with online sales, it can be difficult to verify a buyer’s age.
However, within the next two years, further restrictions will be enforced to ensure that manufacturers of e-cigs are to give their products an addiction warning due to their nicotine content. They will also be unable to make any health claims within their advertising.
Issues are being raised though by members of the American Lung Association, as regulations may not be applied to certain premier cigars. Discussions regarding this will be addressed during public comments, where it will be consider whether to ban all variety of cigar or define categories so that some premium cigars are not subject to FDA regulations.
This has obviously raised concerns with doctors and other health professionals, as they feel that any product that can cause lung or heart disease should be regulated at all times.
Representatives of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are pleased that the bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors has been passed, but state that there is still a long way to go to ensure the health of our children.