Two NYS Legislators Look To Regulate E-Cigarettes

Nov 26, 2013

Two New York state legislators from the Hudson Valley say they will push legislation at the beginning of the year that would regulate e-cigarettes the same way as regular, tobacco cigarettes. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue proposed regulations on the vapor cigarettes soon.

Electronic cigarettes produce vapor. They do not burn tobacco. Instead, they heat liquid containing nicotine derived from tobacco. State Senator David Carlucci, an Independent Democrat, says the problem is e-cigarettes are not regulated, and are a relatively new form of smoking that is addictive and is allegedly being marketed to teens.

Carlucci says e-cigarettes should be held to the same standards as tobacco cigarettes.

He plans to introduce the legislation at the start of the legislative session in January. Carlucci notes he and Democratic Assemblywoman Sandy Galef were behind legislation signed into law this year that prohibits smoking on playgrounds, and he wants New York to get ahead of the curve when it comes to bans on e-cigarettes.

Galef has already introduced the legislation in the Assembly. It includes electronic cigarettes within the definition of smoking.

She says she is concerned about marketing to youth and unknown health and safety hazards.

V2 Cigs are a popular brand of e-cigarettes sold in New York, and include flavors like cinnamon, cola, and mint tea. A V2 spokesman, in a statement, says, in part, quote, “We disagree with any decision to subject electronic cigarettes to the same across-the-board restrictions as tobacco products. Electronic cigarettes are not tobacco products. They don't contain tobacco.” He says that imposing disproportionate regulations on electronic cigarettes by misclassifying them would stifle innovation, as well as the company’s ability to bring new and better products to market, driving consumers back to the traditional cigarette. He also points out that e-cigarettes are not intended for minors.

Again, Carlucci.

Richard Smith is spokesman for RJ Reynolds Vapor, a subsidiary of tobacco company Reynolds American in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. RJ Reynolds Vapor sells VUSE e-cigarettes, currently sold in Colorado, with plans to enter Utah the first quarter of 2014. He says e-cigarettes and other tobacco products should be kept away from minors.

He declined to comment on the upcoming proposed legislation in New York, saying he had not seen it.

An FDA spokesperson, in a statement, says, quote:

“Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn nicotine, which is highly addictive, and/or other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. The FDA intends to propose a regulation that would extend the agency’s “tobacco product” authorities -- which currently only apply to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco -- to other categories of tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of 'tobacco product.' Further research is needed to assess the potential public health benefits and risks of electronic cigarettes and other novel tobacco products.” 

The proposed regulation is due out any day.