Electronic vapor cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, rank as one of the fastest growing products in the United States. However, due to their relatively untested and unregulated nature and the stigma that follows nicotine-related merchandise, many locales have banned users from "smoking" the devices.
Electronic Vapor Cigarette Basics
E-cigarettes are designed as a replacement for harmful traditional tobacco cigarettes. Traditional cigarettes rely on combustion to convert tobacco, nicotine, and other chemicals into a smoke that can be inhaled. Electronic cigarettes, on the other hand, use a battery-powered heater to turn flavored liquid that frequently contains nicotine into vapor. This process allows the user to inhale the nicotine without the potentially carcinogenic components of traditional cigarette smoke.
Locations with E-cigarette Bans
The laws and restrictions that govern where electronic cigarettes can be used vary greatly among different states and even cities. Regulations vary because each area is allowed to pass their own rules on the use of e-cigarettes. For example, in Arkansas the use of the devices is prohibited on school-district property. In Delaware, the use of electronic cigarettes is banned in all state workplaces. In Maryland e-cigarettes are banned on all commuter trains. A few states that include North Dakota, New Jersey, Utah, and New York have chosen to lump e-cigarettes in with bans on traditional cigarettes.
Why E-cigarettes are Banned
Many medical associations in the U.S. have called for a ban on electronic vapor cigarettes by the Food and Drug Administration, largely because there is not enough research regarding the long-term health effects of inhaling vaporized nicotine. While e-cigarettes eliminate many of the toxins a traditional cigarette contains, nicotine is still a highly addictive substance. Several organizations worry that electronic cigarettes will only encourage greater nicotine use, with smokers still smoking cigarettes where allowed and choosing electronic cigarettes when in places where smoking is banned.
Concerns also revolve around the use of e-cigarettes by minors. While regulations on who can purchase the devices continue to grow tighter, marketing like candy-flavored smoke cartridges appeal to youth who may develop a nicotine addiction from e-cigarettes and move onto to traditional cigarettes. Still others suggest that electronic cigarettes may change public perception and renormalize the practice of smoking.
Until more research is performed on the long-term effects of electronic vapor cigarettes on both the smoker and those exposed to secondhand vapor, more bans will likely be passed in cities and states across the country. Bans are not only in place in the United States, but they also exist in other areas across the world, including areas of the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and several other countries. You should always check local regulations before using your electronic cigarette in a public place, especially when traveling internationally, to avoid confrontation and potential fines.