Electronic Cigarette Basics
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookah or e-cigars, are battery-operated devices. They contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and other chemicals that are heated to create an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. E-cigarettes come in a wide variety of sizes and some resemble traditional cigarettes. E-cigarette liquid comes in a variety of flavors.
Studies have found nicotine, heavy metals, toxins and carcinogens in e-cigarette vapor.
The largest cigarette companies each have their own brand of e-cigarette. The e-cigarette industry is using many of the same tactics used by the tobacco industry to entice people into using their products.
E-Cigarette Use Among Minnesota Youth
E-cigarettes come in appealing, youth friendly flavors such as gummy bear, banana split and fruit punch. These products have become increasingly popular among youth.
E-Cigarettes and Clean Indoor Air
Minnesota state law prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in licensed day cares during hours of operation, hospitals and clinics, public schools, and government owned buildings. Many cities have also added electronic cigarettes to their clean indoor air laws. These policies prohibit the use of e-cigarettes everywhere other commercial cigarette products are prohibited. Currently, more than 50% of Minnesotans are covered by clean indoor air laws. See which cities and counties have passed one of these laws here.
FDA Deeming Regulations
In 2016, the FDA began a two-year process to establish basic regulations for electronic cigarettes. These regulations:
- Prohibit free samples of electronic cigarette liquid made or derived from tobacco.
- Require a lengthy review process for any product marketed after February 15, 2007.
- Prohibit sales to minors.
- Require manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, liquid, or components and parts of electronic cigarettes to register with the FDA.
- Prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes from vending machines, unless in an adult-only facility.
- Prohibits sellers from claiming that their products are less hazardous than smoking unless they provide sufficient evidence to the agency.
- Require manufacturers to submit a list of ingredients for electronic cigarette liquid.
- Place warning labels on products.
These new rules will go into effect over two years, and does not fully regulate electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products. For example, while federal law prohibits flavored cigarettes, there is no such rule in place for electronic cigarettes. Additionally, the FDA rules do not prohibit the sale of these products online.
Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (2016). Electronic Cigarettes. http://www.ansrmn.org/ecigs/
ClearWay Minnesota (2016). E-Cigarettes. http://clearwaymn.org/e-cigarettes/
Minnesota Department of Health (2016). Tobacco Prevention and Control: Electronic Cigarettes. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpcd/tpc/topics/ecigarettes.html
Minnesota Department of Health (2014). Teens and Tobacco in Minnesota, 2014 Update Executive Summary. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/tobacco/teentobaccoexecsumm110614.pdf
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016). Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm456610.htm