What Is The US’ Stance On eCigarettes

Vaping is still a fairly grey area as far as legislation is concerned, with laws changing consistently across the globe

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With the sheer speed in which vaping and e-cigarette use has spread across the globe, it’s no surprise that regulation and legislation have been put into place to help combat the potential health risks. While e cig use is still a mostly grey area in terms of the health benefits or potential long-term risks, as a less harmful and much more affordable alternative to smoking, it’s understandable that more and more people are turning to Vapes. The US is certainly no exception to that rule and here, we’re taking a closer look at the States’ stance on eCigarettes and potential legislation you could have to face.

Federal Regulation

As far as Federal regulation is concerned, the USA has had a mostly grey area for the majority of the lifespan of the industry. With no clear-cut classification for what Vapes and eCigarettes should be and with each state having their own legislation regarding the sale and use of these devices, determining the legality of smoking seemed to be a matter of hoping for the best. However, December 2010 saw a final decision that eCigarettes would be treated as tobacco products and not medical or drug-related provided that they were not marketed at those looking to quit.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has since gone on to impose a number of regulations, mostly after the 8th August 2016 when they extended their reach to cover eCigarettes. They now have the ability to evaluate devices, products and more dependent on ingredients, features and proposed health risks, not to mention a ban on the use of these devices by minors. Initially, warnings were given to those selling unlawfully, but this has since become an offence.

State Regulation

Regulations on eCigarettes can often differ from state to state. All states are required to follow the base FDA guidelines; however, each one could have their own variations on age, classification and even where they can be used. Some states allow the sale of eCigarettes and related accessories as tobacco products, thus meaning they are subject to tobacco taxes but others may exempt them from these taxes.

The classification of eCigarettes by state can also have an effect on laws, age and marketing restrictions. While the base age for banning is 18, some states have extended this to 21, with California, in particular, taking extra steps to ensure that all electronic cigarettes and related liquids must be in child-resistant packaging. Locales may also have control over some Vaping restrictions – In California, for example, the ban on vaping inside is state-wide, while Georgia differs. Chatham County, Pooler and Savannah have bans on all enclosed places, while DeKalb Country has exempted bars and restaurants from the ban.

The Indoor Bans

Speaking of indoor bans, it’s this particular legislation that has been changing the US’ approach to eCig usage as of late. One of the key attractions of electronic cigarettes upon their initial release was that they could be used indoors or in some places where smoking may otherwise have been restricted. Now, however, this is very much the opposite. Only Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island and Tennessee have no ban and also restrict localities from placing their own, however, the remaining US states either have no regional ban but will allow localities to decide, or have banned indoor vaping completely across the entire state.

Vaping is still a fairly grey area as far as legislation is concerned, with laws changing consistently across the globe. For those who do Vape, checking with localities before you travel or keeping up with your own local laws are a must and could prevent penalties in the future.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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