King County, Wash., Considers E-Cig Ban

E-Cig Washington state has had a law banning pipes, cigarettes and cigars in public places since 2006. Now, King County would like to expand that ban to include electronic cigarettes, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.

Even though proponents of e-cigs point out that the devices only emit a smoke-free mist, public health officials worry that e-cigarettes look too much like the real tobacco products and could make it harder to enforce the current law.

“The idea is that even though they’re not exactly identical to cigarettes, people see folks using e-cigarettes, and they think somebody else is smoking,” said Bud Nicola, a King County Board of Health member. “It makes it very difficult for inspectors.”

Nicola pointed out that the devices attract the interest of teenagers. “These are something that can potentially get kids hooked on nicotine. … E-cigarettes have a high appeal to youth. They come in candy flavors,” he said.

Tomorrow, the Board of Health will vote on the proposal, which also restricts the sale of e-cigarettes to those 18 and older and forbids free offers and steep discounts on the products. If approved, King County will have the strictest e-cig policy in the nation.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot control electronic cigarettes as if they were a drug. However, the FDA can regulate the devices as tobacco products.


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