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E-Cigarettes Part II: Newly Proposed Rules

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Part I of the E-Cigarettes series discussed the rising popularity of e-cigs, as they are commonly referred to, and the controversy over whether they are smoking cessation devices or simply replacements for traditional cigarettes.  E-cigs have gone under the radar of FDA regulation and scrutiny, despite the fact that surprisingly little is known about the health effects of the popular devices.  Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney explains that the main difference between e-cigs and traditional cigarettes is the delivery of the nicotine: in e-cigs the nicotine is inhaled as a vapor, whereas in regular cigarettes it is inhaled incombustible form (after the cigarette is lighted).  While the assumption is that inhaling combustible nicotine is more harmful, there really are no studies proving that vaporized nicotine–and the e-juice combined with it–is any less harmful.

    So goes the backstory of the rules proposed by the FDA on April 24, 2014, to extend its regulatory authority to electronic cigarettes, as well as to pipe tobacco, cigars, and tobacco products–products that have historically escaped the notice of the FDA but the use of which has risen sharply in recent years.  The proposed rules would ban the sale of all of the above products to anyone under 18, and require proof of age by photo ID.  The proposed ban on sales to minors would mean that vending machines that carry e-cigs and that are currently located in public places must either discontinue carrying those products or be moved to places where they can be supervised.  Additionally, the ban on internet sales to minors that is in place for regular cigarettes would extend to e-cigs and cigars. 

    Critics of the proposed rules point out that there are no recommendations to ban flavors in e-cigs and cigars (such as bubble gum and grape) that public health experts warn are attracting a younger population to try e-cigs and directly contradict the industry’s assertion that their product helps people to stop smoking.  Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney notes that many health experts worry that the opposite is in fact true: e-cigs, with their fruity flavors and lack of restrictions on marketing, act as a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes.  The proposed rules also failed to address the advertisement of e-cigs; marketing of traditional cigarettes is banned from television.

    In response to its critics, the FDA stresses that having regulatory authority over e-cigs will enable it to gather the necessary information on how many types and brands of e-cigs there are on the market, the amount and effect of the vaporized nicotine, and the health hazards of the e-juice.  This could result in health warnings and labels in the future, which are a notable absence in the proposed rules. Therefore, regulation should lead to better knowledge and more control over the industry.

    For now, the absence of federal regulations has left cities and states to fill the regulatory void.  Some cities and states have banned e-cigs from public places (New York City’s ban went into effect on April 29, 2014), some states regulate their sale, and some tax their sale.  More than half of the fifty states already ban the sale of e-cigs to minors.

    Denver personal injury attorney Jordan Levine knows that laws, especially those in Colorado, are changing and adapting all of the time as technological advances and consumer needs evolve. That is why Jordan is constantly keeping up to date with laws pertaining to all sorts of personal injury claims from an auto accident to product liability. Please contact our firm today for more information concerning your potential claim.