Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

May 7, 2014

Another View: E-cigarette regulation long overdue

The growth of the electronic cigarettes industry is remarkable, but its appeal is no mystery. E-cigarettes are loopholes to America’s smoking regulations.

Increasing numbers of electronic-cigarette smokers often are immune from the rules tobacco smokers face. Most laws against smoking in public are aimed at tobacco. E-cigarettes were largely unknown when those laws were enacted — and the marketing strategies put that to good use.

E-cigarettes enable users to inhale nicotine through battery-operated devices. Vapor rather than smoke is the result — and the new industry encourages consumers to take advantage in bars, restaurants and other places where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

The “freedom” the e-cigarette promotes is alluring, but it also is troubling. Because the cigarettes aren’t subject to the same regulations as tobacco products, children in increasing numbers are attracted to them — and 17 states, including Michigan, don’t bar their sale to minors.

It is right that the Food and Drug Administration finally involved itself in regulating e-cigarettes. The FDA’s decision last week was remarkably late. E-cigarettes’ popularity has been impossible to ignore in the past few years. But at least the federal agency finally has come to recognize the risks they pose.

E-cigarettes are promoted as safe alternatives to traditional cigarettes, but that’s only a contention. As bad as tobacco cigarettes might be for the users’ health, their contents are known, thanks to federal regulations.

There is no such required information about E-cigarettes. The nicotine vapors the users inhale purportedly are less harmful than tobacco smoke, but there is no definitive proof that’s the case.

That’s especially a problem for minors. E-cigarette use has doubled for middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012. It’s one thing for adults to use the product. With questions about its safety, children’s e-cigarette use is alarming.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA