Our View: E-cigarettes need more regulation

Friday , March 28, 2014 - 12:37 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

E-cigarettes, which are growing in popularity among teenagers, need to have the same type of regulation that conventional cigarettes have. That would stymie the e-cigarette industry and it has the potential to stop the growth of e-cigarettes among youth and the rate of accidental nicotine overdoses.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices. Liquid nicotine is heated and converted into a mist that is inhaled by the user. Flavors can be added to the nicotine cartridges. Many adult users of e-cigarettes are trying to reduce their dependence on conventional cigarettes. There are already some restrictions against e-cigarettes, including an age restriction to 19. And, efforts to self-regulate by the e-cigarette industry, which may bring an age-verification ID scanner to retailers, are admirable, but more regulation is needed.

The Davis County Health Department has effective regulations for e-cigarettes, and the county also includes e-cigarettes in its tobacco education programs. State Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, attempted to pass a bill with statewide regulations on e-cigarettes, but it died in the Legislature this past session.

Both Davis County and Ray’s bill can be used as templates for fair, firm regulations on e-cigarettes. Regulation is needed. It’s also a safety issue. According to news reports, the Utah Poison Control Center says that 79 young children have been admitted to hospitals due to ingestion or coming into contact with the nicotine e-juice, which often smells like bubble gum or other kid-friendly snacks, such as breakfast cereal. Twenty-one of the poisonings have occurred this year. Add this to the consistent rise of e-cigarettes as a problem in Top of Utah high schools, and it’s clear that e-cigarettes should receive the same regulatory restrictions as traditional cigarettes.

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