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.