CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
State law makers recently passed legislation that creates a separate class for e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular across the country.
Last year alone, the market grew from $150 million to $300 million with sales expected to hit the $1 billion mark by the end of 2013.
John Wiesehan sells electronic cigarettes, also called “e-cigarettes,” to thousands of stores across the country and the Ballantyne business owner said the battery-powered devices look just like tobacco cigarettes.
There is a difference.
“There’s only four ingredients: water, flavoring, glycol and nicotine,” Wiesehan said.
Many people see these “e-cigs” as a safer alternative to tobacco and even a way to quit smoking.
The user inhales nicotine-infused vapors, which don’t contain the harmful tar and carbon monoxide in regular tobacco smoke.
“It’s not smoke, it’s vapor. It’s water. It is not a smoke, so it’s very different,” Wiesehan said.
The North Carolina Senate recently passed a bill defining “e-cigs” as a “vapor” instead of a “tobacco” product.
The Food and Drug Administration warns the product and its effects have not been fully studied.
Some health groups are concerned over this and say lawmakers should wait before creating a separate category.
Patricia Bossert of the American Cancer Society fears that “We could see them used in places where tobacco products aren’t allowed like restaurants, bars, schools, campuses, places where we’ve already prohibited tobacco use.”
The FDA also warns that e-cigarettes and tobacco have something key in common.
“E-cigarettes are nicotine-delivering product, and they are going to encourage behavior of using tobacco products” said Lucy Conroy of Youth Empowered Solutions.
Wiesehan agrees that more testing on e-cigarettes needs to be done, but he believes that usage of the device should be allowed in public places.
“We’re comfortable with it not being something that can hurt someone,” he said.
A version of the bill is still being considered by the North Carolina House of Representatives.
What if the FDA ended up deciding to place electronic cigarettes in a totally new and seperate class from tobacco cigarettes – its own class “Vapor”. Could this North Carolina Senate spark an interest with the FDA or sway them to lean towards something more like this, than placing electronic cigarettes in a tobacco class?
I believe the FDA hasn’t yet stated a regulation on e-cigs because they are in fact very interested and do want to completely understand them. I believe if we have more States to follow in NC’s footsteps, it can result in quite the result from what we’ve been speculating. What do you think?