E-cigarette Ban Mulled in New York

Lawmakers in New York are considering a state ban on electronic cigarettes, or <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Electronic-Cigarettes">e-cigarettes, which would make the ban the first of its kind on the products, said the Wall Street Journal.

The use of e-cigarettes, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, is on the rise globally, but with little information on related health effects. E-cigarettes burn and vaporize nicotine and other ingredients in its cartridge, via an aerosol created when heated. No information exists concerning the chemicals in the aerosolized vapors.

The batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs, and instruction manuals included with e-cigarette purchases do not contain critical information about ingredients, use, and important warnings. The cartridges can leak, releasing nicotine to children, adults, pets, and the environment. Nicotine, a key component in the manufacture of cigarettes, is an addictive and dangerous chemical.

Meanwhile e-cigarette makers have been advertising the devices as providing all of the enjoyment of smoking without the health threats, noted the Journal, but health officials claim that the devices promote “another addictive habit,” that can—in this case—draw in young adults legally to a cigarette addiction.

“I got interested in this because I saw all these ads for e-cigarettes, so I did some research,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat. “I found what is in the e-cigarettes is a mystery,” quoted the Journal. Assemblywoman Rosenthal seeks the ban while the devices are fully investigated and regulated, added the Journal.

Rosenthal’s bill received approval in 2010 in the Assembly but stalled in the then Democrat-controlled Senate, said Journal, noting that, according to Rosenthal, the bill could now be voted out of the Assembly Health Committee today. Republican Kemp Hannon, the Senate Health Committee Chairman said the bill will most likely be considered, with a potential hearing, added the Journal. E-cigarettes have been growing in popularity since 2006.

Late last year we wrote that A U.S. appeals court decided that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is only permitted to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, not drugs, which means that the FDA cannot block the devices’ import. In 2009, Congress allowed the FDA to regulate, but not ban, tobacco products, said Reuters previously.

The ruling by three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upset tobacco activist groups, said Reuters. “Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered products that allow users to inhale nicotine vapor without fire, smoke, ash, or carbon monoxide,” the court said in its ruling. “The liquid nicotine in each e-cigarette is derived from natural tobacco plants,” it added, quoted Reuters.

Regardless, the FDA will most probably have much to do with the fate of the devices; however, if considered a tobacco product, the devices will bypass research and trials mandated in the pharmaceutical industry for other nicotine delivery systems, such as patches and inhalers, explained the Journal. Today, manufacture, quality control, sales, and advertisement of the products is not regulated and, because there are no ways in which e-cigarette products and accessories, such as cartridges, are to be disposed, improper disposal could lead to nicotine contamination from discarded cartridges to water sources and soil.

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