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Political Friends & Foes of the ECig Industry

Filed in News & Politics by on August 13, 2015

ecig and vaporizer politics v2 cigsThe ecig and vaping industry have drawn no shortage of headlines lately, and there are plenty of elected officials looking to stake their claim to some part of the regulation story. With the FDA deeming regulations still yet to take effect (though there are plans for them to be completed later this summer), state and local, and federal elected officials have taken up numerous causes.

It can be a lot for the average vaper to keep track of, so here’s our recap of what politicians have been making headlines in the world of ecig and vaporizer industry regulations.

US Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD). House Republicans have been trying to ease some of the pre-market review requirements that are part of the FDA’s soon-to-be-announced guidelines for ecig products. Harris, in recent reports, argued that vaping is “not really smoking,” and that “most people realize they are less dangerous than cigarettes, yet we’re subjecting them to a higher level of regulation.”

California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Politicians in Sacramento recently took up a number of bills aimed at the tobacco industry, and ended up lumping ecig regulation in with them. Leno was the lead behind an effort recently to revive a proposal that would ban vaping in all public places where smoking is prohibited. It’s a common measure that’s been enacted in many municipalities nationwide, but in California, a similar measure failed earlier to Leno’s attempt.

Hawaii Governor David Ige. Hawaii became the first state in the country to raise the legal smoking age to 21, in response to recent reports of young people taking up vaping. Governor David Ige signed the bill into law in June, at the same time he signed a bill banning ecig and vaporizer use in all public places where smoking is also prohibited.

Most U.S. states set the legal smoking age at 18, while a handful have set it higher at 19. Some cities and counties, including New York City and Hawaii County, have already raised the smoking age to 21, according to Reuters.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ). Pallone, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, made headlines last month when he urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to enact a blanket federal ban of ecig use on all airlines. “It is unacceptable that this rule was first proposed almost four years ago and it has yet to be finalized,” Pallone wrote in a letter to Foxx. His committee has jurisdiction over health and safety issues.

Pallone referenced a much older ban – the ban on smoking on airplanes – which was spearheaded by another New Jersey politician, the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

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