A bill that would make New York the first state to ban the sale of e-cigarettes appears unlikely to pass, the Associated Press reports.
The state is waiting for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate e-cigarettes. Last year, the FDA said it will regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, treating them the same as traditional cigarettes. The FDA is conducting a review of the products.
The FDA said it would not try to regulate e-cigarettes under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices, unless they are marked for “therapeutic purposes,” such as a smoking cessation aid.
E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. They usually have a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge with nicotine or other chemicals and a device called an atomizer that converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor when heated. E-cigarettes often are made to look like regular cigarettes.
Currently, sales of e-cigarettes are unregulated in New York, even for minors. The water vapor given off by the devices does not violate anti-smoking laws, the article notes.
“It will take, literally, years to regulate this federally,” Russ Sciandra of the American Cancer Society told the AP. “The effect is nothing is going to happen and kids will continue to have access and we’re worried they will use these things and become addicted to nicotine, then find a cheaper alternative, which is cigarettes.”
A bill that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors also appears unlikely to pass in New York. States including Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Maryland have placed age restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes. Laws have been introduced in at least 13 states over the last two years to regulate e-cigarettes. No state has enacted a ban of the devices.