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American Heart Association Chimes In On E-Cig Regulations

By Shanon Steeves

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With electronic cigarettes on the rise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with city officials and other government bodies are working to create a set of new rules and regulations to control this ever-expanding industry.

We’ve talked about the proposed regulations before on the Vapor Vixxen blog, some of which include prohibiting sales to minors, prohibiting vape shops and retailers from giving out free samples, and forcing companies to list their ingredients. Granted, these are merely “proposed” regulations, but industry analysts believe the FDA will follow through by approving and subsequently finalizing them.

But the American Heart Association (AHA) is now chiming in on the topic of electronic cigarettes, citing the need for further studies and research to be done on electronic cigarettes.

The AHA published its e-cig policy statement in the journal Circulation, creating its own set of proposed rules. Among these rules includes a stipulation that would classify e-cigs as tobacco cigarettes in regards to smoke-free laws. In other words, if a state bans smoking inside public facilities, then e-cigs would banned as well. Of course, several cities have passed similar ordinances banning the use of e-cigs indoors, including Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago.

They [electronic cigarettes] should be included in smoke-free laws. An important reason for this is it’s not clear if the vapor from electronic cigarettes is safe. We do know that nicotine can have harmful effects not only on the user of an electronic cigarette, but also those who are exposed to high concentrations of nicotine in the vapors if they are in an enclosed space,” said Dr. Elliott Antman, president of the AHA.

The AHA failed, however, to take into account the dozens of different studies which confirm the theory that electronic cigarettes are a safer and effective nicotine alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes only produce enough heat to turn liquid nicotine (known as e-liquid) into a mist-like vapor plum; therefore, there’s no fire or combustion taking place.

Critics remain wary of electronic cigarettes partly because the industry is still new. When an industry appears and grows with such popularity as shown with e-cigs, officials are forced to take a cautious approach. Hopefully, future research will continue to solidify the notion that e-cigs are a safe product for both the user and anyone around him or her.

Electronic cigarette vs tobacco cigarette photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Airport Officials Express Concern Over E-Cigs

By Shanon Steeves

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The smokeless nicotine delivery devices known as e-cigs are coming under fire from airport officials who claim they are unsafe. 

According to an article published by the New York Times, an electronic cigarette burned through a passenger’s bag at the Logan International Airport in Boston. When officials discovered the burned bag, they immediately pulled it off the Buffalo-bound JetBlue flight. Granted, this incident did not cause a fire, but it still raises concerns about whether or not e-cigs are safe to bring on board flights.

So, how did an electronic cigarette manage to burn a hole in the owner’s luggage? Reports suggest it wasn’t the actual e-cig but rather the device’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Practically all e-cigs use these type of efficient, easy-to-recharge batteries due to their long life and reliability. However, lithium-ion batteries are known to explode on occasion, especially when they are exposed to high heat. Perhaps this incident was caused by an overheated e-cig battery.

Thankfully, this incident didn’t cause any injuries or significant damage, but it still brings the topic of e-cig safety on flights to light. Are these devices safe enough to bring and/or use on airplanes? Electronic cigarettes are still relatively new when compares to centuries-old tobacco cigarettes. As a result, officials must tread carefully to ensure the general public is safe from any potential adverse effects, including exploding batteries.

With that said, the Travel Safety Administration (TSA) published an article on its blog confirming that passengers can bring electronic cigarettes in their checked luggage or carry-on bags. This is certainly welcome news for the millions of e-cig users around the world.

E-Cigarettes are becoming more and more popular and I’m happy to report that TSA has no problem with e-cigs being packed in your carry-on or checked bags. Now as far as using them on a flight, I would suggest you contact your airline and see what they have to say,” wrote the TSA on its blog.

So, according to the TSA, it’s okay to bring electronic cigarettes and related accessories on checked or carry-on luggage. The TSA notes, however, that rules and regulations regarding the use of e-cigs on flights varies depending on the airline. In other words, ask the airline for permission before using your e-cig on a flight. Some airlines have no problem with passengers vaping, but others explicitly prohibit it.


American Airlines photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons.


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Survey: Users Would Resort To Black Market If E-Cigs Banned

By Shanon Steeves

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Electronic cigarettes have gone through some major changes in the past few years. Several cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City passed ordinances which ban e-cigs from being used indoors. Granted, people are still free to use them in their homes and certain outdoor areas, but what if e-cigs were banned altogether?

According to a survey conducted by the E-Cigarette Forum, users would resort to the black market in the unlikely event that e-cigs were completely banned. The site launched a 75-question survey earlier this year, asking some 10,000 members a variety of questions regarding electronic cigarettes.

Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of respondents (79%) said they would ““look to the black market” is electronic cigarettes were banned tomorrow. The small percentage of users who did submit this answer said they would stop nicotine completely if e-cigs were banned.

This survey reveals the loyalty users have towards their electronic cigarettes. Because even if the device were banned, nearly 4 in 5 users would continue vaping.

And if flavored e-liquid were banned, the survey suggests that users would look towards the use of homemade flavors. Some users already make their own e-liquid, so this is a probable outcome should flavored e-liquid ever be banned.

A lot of these companies are well-known in the vaping community – a lot of people do ring them up and buy their base flavors and mix their own flavors directly,” said Oliver Kershaw, CEO of the E-Cigarette Forum. “So it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to imagine an industry would spring up providing flavors, and it could spread very quickly by word-of-mouth, ‘this was your old flavor that you used to love.”

It’s highly unlikely that neither electronic cigarettes nor e-liquid will be banned. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is currently in the works of setting new standards and regulations for the industry, but this doesn’t include an all-out ban on the devices.

On a side note, the survey also found that 30% of respondents prefer fruit-flavored e-liquid, while 22% prefer tobacco flavor, and 19% prefer sweet/desert flavors. Flavor preferences are equally distributed for the most part, with fruit having a slight edge. Of course, this is just one survey, and a larger survey may yield other results.

So, what would you do if electronic cigarettes were banned tomorrow?

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


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E-Cig Regulations Don’t Account For Health Benefits

By Shanon Steeves

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It’s no secret that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to regulate the electronic cigarette industry. We’ve talked about this before on our blog, publishing some of the FDA’s proposed rules. While most of the rules are modest, they will undoubtedly have an impact on the industry as a whole. However, something the FDA did not take into account when creating these proposed regulations is the health benefits of electronic cigarettes.

A Brief Overview of E-Cigs

In case this is your first time hearing about these devices, let me give you a brief explanation of what they are and how they work: electronic cigarettes look and feel like regular tobacco cigarettes, but they differ in several different ways. Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigs have special heating mechanisms that produce just enough heat to turn liquid nicotine (known as e-liquid) into a mist-like vapor.

Without fire or combustion, there’s no actual smoke; thus, there’s none of the harmful chemicals in e-cig vapor that’s commonly found in tobacco cigarette smoke.

Smoking Kills

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 5 million people worldwide die from smoking-related disease and illness. While rates of cigarette smoking have declined throughout the U.S. in recent years, it remains a growing health concern globally. Thankfully, electronic cigarettes offer a safe and effective way for users to consume nicotine without exposing themselves to thousands of toxic chemicals.

If the FDA pushes for strict regulations, however, it could have a negative impact by discouraging smokers from making the switch. If these regulations force e-cig companies to increase the price of their products, some consumers may resort to smoking, which subsequently results in more smoking-related disease and deaths. The FDA must account for the health benefits of e-cigs when deciding how to regulate this ever-growing industry.

University Professor Weighs In

Prohibiting sales to youth and requiring a clear description of product ingredients may be appropriate. But prohibiting any information regarding potential harm reduction is hard to justify,” wrote Michael L. Marlow, professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an affiliated senior scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

The FDA needs to develop a regulatory strategy that fully considers the potential benefits of e-cigarettes and the unintended adverse effects on public health of stymieing the evolution of a promising harm-reduction tool.

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Joseph Morris via Flickr Creative Commons.


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Rochester University Begins 5-Year E-Cig Study

By Shanon Steeves

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The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York was awarded $2.1 million by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to embark on a 5-year study involving the smokeless nicotine delivery devices known as electronic cigarettes.

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to debate over e-cig regulations, both government and private organizations are funding studies to better gauge the effects of these devices. The bottom line is that the FDA cannot regulate e-cigs or any other product without first understanding their short-term and long-term effects.

Thomas J. Mariani, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at URMC will lead the recently sponsored e-cig study. According to a press release published by the medical center, Mariani and his team of colleagues wll take a “three-pronged” approach to determine the effects of e-cigs, hookas, and other alternative tobacco products in rodents. This study will focus on the effects of alternative tobacco products in young minds and bodies that are still developing.

Electronic cigarettes have become increasingly popular as of late, with some analysts predicting the popularity of these smokeless products will surpass traditional tobacco cigarettes within the next 5-8 years.

Mariani isn’t a newcomer to studies such as this. While he’s yet to perform a study involving electronic cigarettes, he’s been researching the link between cigarette smoke and lung disease for over a decade.

We know that traditional tobacco cigarettes cause numerous diseases," said Thomas J. Mariani, Ph.D. "We intend to determine the disease risk associated with nontraditional tobacco-related products, like e-cigarettes.”

Proponents of electronic cigarettes say the devices are a safe nicotine alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Being that they only heat nicotine to the point of creating a mist-like vapor, there’s no combustion occurring; thus, there’s also no smoke. E-cig vapor contains just a few basic compounds, including nicotine and some inert flavoring ingredients.

Hopefully, Mariani’s study will reinforce this belief, guiding the FDA and other government agencies to make the right choice regarding potential regulations in this ever-growing industry.

Of course, this isn’t the only study being done on electronic cigarettes. Earlier this month, Reynolds American Inc. announced plans to sponsor a similar study on the effects of e-cig vapor (source). This study, which will be done at the Clinical Research Atlanta, will begin next May and involve some 72 e-cig users.

Researcher testing the chemicals and compounds found in e-liquid.


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NACS Issues Public Comments on Proposed FDA E-Cig Regulations

By Shanon Steeves

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With Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation looming over the electronic cigarette industry, companies, organizations, and concerned consumers alike are using this time to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the proposed regulations. Last week, blogged about the FDA’s decision to extend this commenting period, and it appears the general public is taking advantage of this.

The National Association for Convenience Stores (NACS) submitted their comments in a comprehensive 8-page document, detailing which regulations they agree with and which ones they disagree with. It’s obviously in the NACS best interest to promote fast, efficient and safe transactions, but some (not all) of the FDA’s proposed regulations may interfere with this goal.

In the comments, NACS agreed that children under the age of 18 should not be allowed to purchase electronic cigarettes or its relates accessories. Other cities have already passed ordinances which prohibit sales of e-cicgs to minors, but this new regulation would work as a blanket law that covers the entire country.

But one of the proposed regulations that NACS does not agree with is the use of a warning sign. The new proposed regulation would require e-cig retailers to display one of five warning signs about the adverse health effects of smoking within 3 inches of each cash register where cigars can be purchased.

We assume this rule is limited strictly to cigars and not electronic cigarettes, however. The FDA’s proposed regulations aim to effect both e-cigs and traditional tobacco products.

NACS has two concerns with the Proposal in this regard: First, the counter-space in a convenience store is extremely valuable. In fact, it is the most valuable display space in a store. It is inappropriate for FDA to require that retailers selling individual cigars forfeit this valuable space,” wrote NACS in its public comment.

Second, the proposal is unclear as to which party would be required to develop and submit rotation plans for warnings signs. With respect to cigarettes, the Tobacco Control Act clearly places this obligation on tobacco product manufacturers,6 and does not authorize FDA to shift this burden to retailers.”

There’s no word yet on when (or if) these new regulations will take effect. With that said, some analysts say it could take several years before we see them in action.

Visit for complete details on the NACS’ public comments regarding the FDA’s proposed e-cig regulations.

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Terry Ozon.


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FDA Extends Period For Public Commenting

By Shanon Steeves

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of new rules earlier this year that aim to regulate the electronic cigarette industry. Among these rules include banning sales of the devices and related accessories to minors under the age of 18, banning vape shops and retailers from offering free samples, and requiring all new products to receive FDA approval before being released.

The FDA’s proposed regulations have received a mix of praise and criticism by the general public. Proponents say it’s a necessary step in laying the groundwork for a successful, long-lasting industry, whereas critics view the rules as nothing more than a way for lawmakers to strip consumers of their personal rights. Without experiencing the new regulations first hand, however, it’s nearly impossible to determine exactly what type of effect it will have on the industry and consumers.

But these rules have yet to take effect. Like most new laws proposed by the FDA and other federal organizations, it must first go through a public commenting period in which the public is allowed to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the changes. Surprisingly, however, the FDA has decided to extend the commenting period for its recently proposed e-cig regulations to August 8, 2014.

As of writing this post, the FDA’s proposed electronic cigarette regulations have received over 60,000 comments. Comments range from “e-cigarettes are the only thing that help me to quit,” to “electronic cigarettes are just as bad smoking.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and this platform is the perfect method for voicing how you feel about the FDA’s proposed regulations.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to deem products meeting the statutory definition of ‘tobacco product,’ except accessories of a proposed deemed tobacco product, to be subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act)," wrote the FDA on its public commenting page.

News of the public commenting extension comes in the wake of FDA’s decision to spend millions of dollars to fund dozens of different e-cig studies.

If you would like to voice your opinion on the FDA’s proposed e-cig laws, visit Proposals can made in writing or email.

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.


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E-Cigs Are Not a Gateway To Tobacco Cigarettes

By Shanon Steeves

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Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in both men and women, taking the lives of nearly half a million people in the U.S. each year (source). When a smoker puffs away on a cigarette, he or she is exposing themselves to over 7,000 chemicals, 60 of which to cause cancer. While the dangers of smoking are apparent, millions of people are reluctant to give up their nicotine.

This is where electronic cigarettes come into play: the electronic cigarette uses a heating element to warm rather than burn liquid nicotine, which in turn creates a mist-like vapor with just a few basic chemicals. Since electronic cigarettes don’t use fire, there’s no combustion taking place and none of the cancer-causing chemicals being produced.

But lawmakers are still cautious regarding the use, manufacture and distribution of these relatively new devices. One argument among critics is that e-cigs act as a gateway for cigarette smoking. “Many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes,” Thomas Frieden.

So, is there any evidence supporting Frieden’s theory? Nope… in fact, several studies have shown e-cigs to discourage the use of tobacco cigarettes. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center conducted a study in which they found just 1 out of 1,300 college students who used an electronic cigarette went on to smoke. In other words, that’s less than 0.1%. Thus study was later presented to the American Association For Cancer Research.

Of course, cigarette smoking amount youths have dropped significantly in the past few years. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teenage smoking rates in the U.S. have dropped from 18.1% in 2011 to 15.7% in 2013. These rates are expected to decline even further in the years to come.

The bottom line is that electronic cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes. There are cases of e-cig users going on to smoke, but these are few and far between. And there’s no direct evidence linking e-cig use to higher rates of smoking.

Electronic cigarettes offer a safe and effective method for consumers to enjoy nicotine without exposing themselves to thousands of chemicals. Hopefully, more studies will be conducted which reaffirm the belief that e-cigs are safe and do not lead to smoking.

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Lindsay Fox via Flickr Creative Commons.


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Tempe, Arizona Approves New Restrictions on E-Cigs

By Shanon Steeves

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The quaint city of Tempe, Arizona approved new measures last week to regulate the electronic cigarette industry, one of which is prohibiting the use of e-cigs in public areas.

Tempe City Council approved an ordinance to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars, parks, and other “enclosed” public facilities last Thursday by 5-1. This ordinance follows a similar stance as the city’s smoking laws, which also ban smokers from sparking up in public facilities.

With lawmakers pressed by their constituents to create stricter regulation in the e-cig industry, many cities are taking matters into their own hands. Other cities which have banned the use of e-cigs in public facilities includes New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. These cities have essentially categorized e-cigs as tobacco cigarettes, banning its use in public settings.

Proponents claim this measure will protect the public from the potentially adverse effects of second-hand vaping, but critics say it’s merely a ploy by lawmakers to control a thriving new industry.

It’s no secret that second-hand smoke is dangerous to a person’s health, with the Centers For Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that it causes over 34,000 heart disease-related deaths annually. However, electronic cigarettes have been proven time and time again to emit no secondhand smoke; therefore, they are generally viewed as a safer alternative by health professionals and experts. Secondhand smoke from tobacco cigarettes contains thousands of different chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, whereas the vapor mist from an e-cig contains nicotine and a few select additives for flavor.

Tempe is now the first city in Arizona to ban public use of e-cigs. The new ban on e-cig use is scheduled to take effect in 30 days.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell shared some insight into the recent ordinance, citing bogus science as reasoning for the measure.

Traditional cigarettes have been banned in public places since 2002 and all we did was move e-cigarettes into the same classification,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.

It was clear to us that e-cigarettes and the vapor that is emitted from them is likely a public health hazard,” said Mitchell. “You’re breathing in the vapor that’s emitted from e-cigarettes that contains some levels of nicotine, some levels of toxins and formaldehyde.”

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of Marco Monetti via Flickr Creative Commons.


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E-Cig Restrictions Passed In San Diego

By Shanon Steeves

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The San Diego City Council approved two new electronic cigarette measures Monday. While they’ve yet to take effect, residents who use the smokeless nicotine delivery devices should familiarize themselves with these new standards.

The two regulations passed by the San Diego City Council aim to regulate sales of electronic cigarettes and restrict their use. It’s essentially a way for city lawmakers to place the device in the same category as tobacco cigarettes.

So, what kind of changes can residents expect to see to the cit’s e-cig industry. One of the two ordinances will require vape shop owners to obtain a business permit to operate within the San Diego city limits. This same ordinance will also prohibit sales of e-cigs, e-liquid and related accessories through vending machines.

City Council member were initially set to vote on an additional ordinance that would restrict e-cig companies and businesses from advertising their products in public (bus stops, billboards, etc.). However, this was pulled at the last minute due to a court case.

The second ordinance prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in areas where smoking is prohibited. Under this new ordinance, people can no longer vape in places like restaurants, retail stores, bars, parks and beaches. They can, however, still vape in designated areas like vape shops, vape lounges, e-cig shops, and private homes (assuming it’s not a licensed daycare).

Our goal here is to provide some sensible restrictions on these so that adults are able to utilize these safely in places that are not around kids, and that kids under the age of 18 do not have access to these, and also give our local law enforcement the ability to enforce state law regarding the sale to minors,” Councilman Mark Kersey told the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee last month.

San Diego’s new e-cig ordinances should have a minimal impact on the industry as whole. I think most of the city’s e-cig users won’t have a problem finding somewhere to vape, and eliminating the use of vending machines is perfectly fine in my book.

With that said, news of San Diego’s new e-cig laws is just one more sign that stiffer regulations are coming. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has invested millions of dollars to further study these devices, and using this information they will likely push for more regulations. In the meantime, you can check back with our blog here at Vapor Vixxen for all of the latest e-cig news

Electronic cigarette photo courtesy of johanna kollmann via Flickr Creative Commons.


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