Jun 212012

Because electronic cigarettes are a relatively new product many people are unsure of where the law stands regarding e cigarettes. The answer to this question is not straightforward. Laws vary between countries. Different states within the US even have their own legislation. Let’s start by having a look at US legislation and what the FDA has to say about e cigs.
Many e cigarette smokers have wondered whether the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) attempts to classify e cigarettes under various legislation has been all about taxation. This may sound cynical, or maybe not! To date; the FDA has attempted to block imports of electronic cigarettes a number of times. Courts have ruled, however, that the FDA could only block imports of electronic cigarettes if they were subject to drug legislation. Since e cigarettes aren’t drugs or tobacco products they fall outside any current FDA legislation and this is great news for electronic cigarette smokers.

If e cigarettes were marketed for therapeutic uses such as smoking cessation, the FDA would have a case. Electronic cigarette manufacturers have argued that their products were never intended as nicotine replacement therapy. They are simply targeted at smokers and not those who seek to quit. Although, stopping smoking analogue cigarettes is a happy side effect.

Some states have banned sales of electronic cigarettes, whereas others have adopted a more relaxed attitude. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been vocal in his support of electronic cigarettes and vetoed a bill to ban them. Like many others, he argued that adults are capable of making their own decisions

Unfortunately, in 2009 e cigarettes were put in the same category as tobacco in New Jersey. This was simply because they look like cigarettes. Connie Wagner voiced her concern over the fact that fruit flavoured cartridges might appeal to children. Surely it’s the job of parents to ensure that their kids aren’t buying nicotine products?

In fact, the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors was legal in New Hampshire right up to July 2010. I don’t think anyone can object to minors being prevented from buying products containing nicotine. The King County Board of Health in Washington banned the use of electronic cigarettes in public. They prohibit sales to minors, as does their neighbouring county Pierce County. Pierce County do permit the public use of e cigarettes, so a gold star of Pierce County then!

Linn County joined the rank of the spoil sports when they decided to regulate the sale of e cigs and treat them as analogue cigarettes. This means that vendors of e cigarettes who sell them to people within Linn County now need a tobacco retail license.

An interesting case happened earlier this year Feb 2012 when a fellow vaper decided to fire up his e cig on a plane. Continental Airlines were not impressed by this. When passenger in question refused to relinquish the e cig, the flight was diverted back to whence it came! It has to be said that the passenger was asked to stop vaping by a staff member of Continental Airlines. Upon which, the passenger ran through the plane screaming.

To cut a long story short; it is completely legal to use electronic cigarettes in a public place in the United Kingdom. All the anti smoking legislation is geared towards tobacco products. E cigs don’t contain tobacco, so they are not subject to the laws that govern smoking.

Interestingly, the wording of this legislation places a great emphasis on the words ‘smoking’ and ‘lit’. Any vaper knows that e cigarettes aren’t lit and neither do they produce any smoke. This is good news for all UK vapers.

Many people in the electronic cigarette scene have postulated that the anti-smoking zealots object to e cigarettes because quite a few models look so much like the real thing. Some of these people just seem to have a knee jerk reaction to anything that looks like an actual cigarette. Are these people just killjoys? Maybe, but many vapers are mystified as to why anyone would want to ban a safer alternative to smoking that could actually save lives.

Although there is nothing wrong with smoking vapour cigarettes in public you might want to explain what they are to people before you go ahead and vape. I’ll be posting some information about e cigarette legislation in other countries in the near future. So, keep checking back to see how you could be affected. If you’re new to the e cigarette scene you might want to check out electronic cigarette starter kit reviews to find a kit that suits you.

 Posted by at 8:18 pm

  14 Responses to “E Cigs & the Law”

  1. I personally think we need to be seen doing it in public before FDA brainwash everyone to think vaping is the next great evil. The press release put out by the FDA, and the information on their website is purposely misleading. The real conclusion is that the contents of the liquid are no more harmful to the user than FDA approved smoking cessation products. And that the actual vapor delivered to the user is essentially harmless. And if it is harmless to the user, it is most certainly harmless to any bystanders. The FDA approved drugs that have caused serious side effects. So, why we trust them?

  2. The fact that the FDA hasn’t approved e-cigarettes yet is pure ignorance. It just seems so ridiculous to me that I can’t even go to the grocery store these days and buy food that is truly healthy. FDA should ban junk food, fruits, vegetables and meat sprayed with harmful chemicals but not the ecigs

  3. Some cities are banning e-cig sales that cost $2.50 or less. It seems they want us to go back and smoke the real thing. Looks like the Ecig is cutting into tax\alcohol revenue.

  4. Hi Alex, what are state lows and restrictions on how e-cigarettes are used or sold in the USA?

    • Most places in the United States have openly welcomed e-cigarettes. Most major cities have no problems with people using their vaping devices.
      Some states however have put into place regulations on who can and can’t buy e-cigarettes, as well as certain other limitations. For example, New Jersey law restricts the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces and other indoor public places, and prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The states of Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Jersey and Tennessee, as well as Washington, Spokane, and Tacoma are currently working on banning the sales of e-cigs to minors
      As of September 2012, New York also banned the use of e-cigarettes within 100 feet of the entrance to any public or private school. New York banned the sale of e-cigs on January 1, 2013. (((

    • California had already forbidden the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but expanded its law to let cities require retailers to get a license before they are allowed to sell e-cigarettes. Petaluma, California added both medical marijuana and ecigs to its smoking ban. The Petaluma city-wide smoking ban includes public spaces like sidewalks, outdoor patios at restaurants and shared housing units like apartments. Riverside County in California banned use of e-cigarettes in all county owned buildings in 2012.

  5. It scares the tobacco industry and our government that so many of us are able to quit after having one ecigarette! Why just NOW they’re concerned about health after they’ve been letting people smoke cigarettes all these years? becase they’re scared losing their money! we are their cash cows. They don’t care about us quitting

  6. Hi Alex, I need your help! Do you know where to get e cigarette in Singapore? I am going to visit my best friend who is a heavy smoker, I convinced him to switch however have some doubts which brand and taste he may like )))

    • E-cigarettes are banned in Singapore. So far no vendors dare to sell them openly. You can look for ecigs suppliers here, you do have some risk of custom but it’s worth the risk!

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