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Understanding Vaporizer & Ecig Laws

Filed in News & Politics by on September 29, 2015 0 Comments

current vaporizer and ecig laws v2 cigsWhether you’ve fine-tuned your open system vaporizer so it purrs like a kitten, or are about to try your very first e-cigarette, wrapping your head around vaping laws can take some work. Vaping has gone mainstream, and public awareness is high, but the legalities are tricky, because many are still being developed.

Vaporizer use is estimated to reach $10 billion by 2017, according to industry analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities. The health implications are a topic of debate among experts, but new studies are coming out every day. A promising report by the British government recently cited e-cigarettes as a powerful tool for smokers looking for an alternative to combustible cigarettes. But then, you already knew that.

But what about regulations? For now, here’s an overview of what to expect when it comes to your vaporizer and the law.

Federal Rules Looming, Threaten Small Businesses

At the national level, guidelines are expected any moment. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates tobacco products, has been mulling rules for years, and it’s under heavy pressure to put regs in place, since the popularity of e-cigs has boomed. Last year, the FDA published its deeming regulations for e-cigarette and vaporizer products, which was followed by a lengthy public feedback period; the process was expected to be completed by the end of this summer. So far, it’s a waiting game.

Nearly all agree that some regulation is needed to ensure high quality and safety standards. But the rules proposed last year would require review and approval for all new vaporizer or ecig products, as well as products on the market since 2007 – a stipulation that could cost millions of dollars and put smaller, independent vape companies out of business. Needless to say, most in the vaporizer business think that proposal is much too restrictive and expensive. Litigation is very likely.

Local Laws Follow Patterns for Combustible Cigarettes

When it comes to state (or even city or town) laws governing vaporizer use, there are two basic themes: they restrict use as if e-cigarettes were combustibles, banning vaping in the same places that smoking is banned; or they impose age restrictions on their purchase that are similar to those for combustibles. There’s no universal rule, but dozens of cities and states have taken this route, and new locales are added to the list every day.

Restaurants, bars and other nightlife spots often fall under these local laws when it comes to e-cigarettes, so vaping is being limited in the same way tobacco smoking is restricted. Naturally, this doesn’t make vaporizer fans happy, since they know that vapor is nothing like cigarette smoke, but the “ban-where-cigarettes-are-banned” rule has been the fallback for many states and municipalities.

Vaping in Other Public Places

When it comes to travel, airports and airlines have followed suit, forbidding e-cigarette and vaporizer use in terminals and in flight, though some terminals now have “vape lounges.” The same goes for other forms of mass transit and travel.

There are a couple of exceptions. For instance, at London’s Heathrow Airport, you can use your vaporizer in most places right up until boarding. And if you happen to be traveling via Britain’s Ryanair, you’re in luck. You can vape in flight – as long as you buy the e-cigs they sell during the flight.

Thinking maybe no one will notice? Well, you’ll be vaping at your own risk, then. When traveling with e-cigarettes, it’s best to look for signs, exercise caution, and save the vaping for outdoor spaces, or indoors in private homes or hotel rooms.

Since each individual vaporizer fan is ultimately an ambassador for the overall vaping movement, it’s a good idea to stay on top of changes in e-cig legislation, from the federal level all the way down to your local municipality. In the end, deliberately flouting the rules – no matter how nonsensical they are – serves no one.

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