Law to Ban E-Cig Sales to Minors Moves ForwardBy
Nicotine is nicotine regardless of how it is taken in and Congress is taking this sentiment to heart when it comes to America’s youth. Minors below the age of 18 have been explicitly prohibited from buying tobacco products for decades but emerging smoking technology like e-cigs have created a need for legislative reform. Electronic cigarette companies seem accepting and supportive of new regulations that aim to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix has proposed a new bill that would make e-cigarettes illegal for minors to own. These new SB 1209 Provisions would:
• Defines a vapor product as a noncombustible tobacco-derived product that uses a battery or circuit to heat a liquid nicotine solution.
• Giving, selling or providing a vapor product to a minor would be a petty offense.
• A minor who buys, possesses or accepts a vapor product would be committing a petty offense.
• A minor using any form of false identification to purchase a vapor product would be committing a petty offense.
Devin Gusich, co-owner of Phoenix-based electronic cigarette company Smoking Vapor, explained that selling to minors was prohibited by his company, explaining users of the Smoking Vapor site and kiosk must submit proof of age before purchasing any products. Gusich, like many electronic cigarette supporters, believes e-cigs are one way smokers to can end their addiction to the nicotine found in cigarettes.
“I’m not trying to get people to smoke cigarettes,” he said. “If we were allowed (to sell to minors), I wouldn’t.”
Many smokeless cigarette companies like Smoking Vapor have strict guidelines for the distribution of their products, making it increasingly difficult for minors to try electronic cigarettes but this does not stop people from worrying. Some critics of electronic cigarettes believe their shape, which mimics conventional cigarettes, and their lack of health risks compared to cigarettes may encourage minors to try e-cigs.
“What’s intriguing and potentially challenging about the introduction of these new products is that they are perceived by many people as being safer products and alternatives to traditional, combustible tobacco,” says Robin Mermelstein, director of the UIC institute and principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute-funded study.
Electronic cigarette companies have been quick to counter this argument, claiming their products are made exclusively for adults and not marketed to minors. Fortunately, both Congress and e-cigarette manufacturers can agree on one thing. Regulating the sale of smokeless cigarettes will help keep them out of the hands of youth.