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You are Here: Home >> News >> Industry News >> Regulating E-Cigarettes Could Have Unintended Cons...
Regulating E-Cigarettes Could Have Unintended Consequences
December 16th, 2013
 
Regulations of electronic cigarettes are expected to be a top priority for states and cities in 2014. But some of the new laws being considered — bans on use in public places like restaurants and bars, and high sin taxes — are based on the assumption that electronic cigarettes, battery powered devices that produce a nicotine vapor, are exactly like the real thing. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the thinking goes, it must be a duck.
But it isn’t that simple, say e-cigarette makers, and if policy makers overreach, they’ll face a fight with e-cigarette smokers and manufacturers who say it’s irrational to treat electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes, and that the laws, which might dissuade smokers from switching to a safer product, may even be bad for public health.
“I’m looking forward to federal regulation. But each state doing its own thing in absence of a federal framework, I think is a mistake,” says Miguel Martin, the president of LOGIC Technology, an electronic cigarette maker in New Jersey. 
It seems like every week another city or state has a new electronic cigarette rule under consideration. Utah , North Dakota and New Jersey ban using electronic cigarettes in public places like bars and restaurants. New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are considering similar bans. Maryland’s Prince George’s county, a suburb of Washington, has agreed to hold off on a ban pending the results of a study on the risks. Proponents of such bans say second-hand vapor might be harmful and that electronic cigarettes glamorize smoking  at a time when anti-smoking advocates have largely succeeded in stigmatizing it.
Minnesota is the only state that taxes electronic cigarettes (at 95% of their wholesale price), but industry insiders say they expect electronic cigarette taxes to proliferate in 2014. Utah, Oklahoma, and Hawaii have tried and failed to impose taxes on electronic cigarettes. Lawmakers in South Carolina and Oregon have also considered electronic cigarette taxes, making them likely candidates to continue the debate next year......