Contact Us
  • Comment

FDA looks to regulate e-cigarettes; stem sale to minors

State calls plan "long overdue"

Posted: April 28, 2014 - 3:26pm  |  Updated: May 5, 2014 - 6:00am
Daryl Cura demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Daryl Cura demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Electronic cigarettes, battery-operated devices that use vapors from a nicotine solution instead of tobacco, face no regulations. They can be sold to minors. They can be offered as free samples. Anyone can make any claim about how safe they are without repercussions.

Soon, though, that may change.

The United States Food and Drug Administration released 67 pages of proposed regulations for e-cigarettes last week and now faces a public comment period before any regulations are approved.

The regulations will begin treating the devices as if they were tobacco products: That means no sales to minors, no free samples and no claims about health without a scientific study cited.

The Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida called the proposal “long overdue.”

In a statement, the bureau asked whether smokers were using e-cigarettes to quit or to “circumvent smoke-free indoor air laws” and whether e-cigarettes were normalizing smoking and nicotine use for teenagers.

“Every responsible vape [e-cigarette] shop in this industry has always had a policy of no sales to minors, even prior to any word of legislation,” said Ben Hughlett, who owns two New Leaf Vapor Company stores in Riverside and on Beach Boulevard. “We see this as a product that adults should have the right to enjoy responsibly, and that part of the responsibility means keeping it away from kids.”

Hughlett, who is opening three stores later this year, has a sign in his shop that says: “We do not sell to minors. Although it isn’t regulated yet, we believe it to be good practice.”

Clay County was the first in the state’s 67 counties to pass an ordinance to ban sales to minors and ban the use of e-cigarettes in any place where smoking isn’t allowed. The ordinance also limited how stores could display and sell the products.

Though Duval County doesn’t have a similar ordinance, a bill regulating e-cigarettes passed the Florida Senate and then was amended and passed in the Florida House of Representatives. If the Senate passes the amended version of the bill and the governor signs it, e-cigarettes could be regulated in Florida even before the federal drug administration finalizes its regulations.

The bill makes it a misdemeanor crime to give nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, to minors.

It does not, though, ban stores from giving free samples like the Food and Drug Administration proposes.

“Sampling,” Hughlett said, “allows people to try different flavors before they buy, and find ones that will work for them. It’s part of the vaping experience that customers really enjoy, and something that has helped make it possible for so many smokers to put down traditional cigarettes.”

Ronald Coleman, 57, said he’s smoked for at least 37 years. He never tried to quit, and he only tried e-cigarettes because he wanted to be able to smoke inside and outside. He tried e-cigarettes for two weeks and said normal cigarettes didn’t feel right anymore.

He said he’s fine with banning sales to minors, and he’s fine with getting rid of signs like the one in New Leaf’s Riverside store that says: “E-cigs are about 1% of the harm caused from smoking analogs.”

Everything, he said, comes with a downside. But at least the ashes are gone, the scent is gone and the cost is much cheaper.

Coleman said he can breathe better and he’s gained weight since switching to e-cigarettes,

Tobacco Free Florida told smokers they ought “to wait for reliable scientific evidence” before trusting that e-cigarettes were indeed safer.

Randy Nobles, 27, has been using e-cigarettes for two years, after smoking a pack-and-a-half of Newport cigarettes a day for seven years. He said the cost of using e-cigarettes is 20 times cheaper, but he said the proposed regulations are all reasonable.

What the government tells you to do, Nobles said, you have to do.

Andrew Pantazi: (904) 359-4310

Comments (2)

ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jimharvey1 05/05/14 - 06:55 pm

Government is not happy

Government is not happy unless they have their greedy little mitts into everything with regulation and stipulations and inevitably, taxation. I am still firmly a believer in the reason marijuana is not "legal" is because the government "representatives" cannot figure out a way to legalize it without losing the votes of their constituency, because these same representatives see it as something they can tax the living Hell out of and make a boatload of money.

Now, E-cigarettes. Eliminates 2nd-hand smoke and the harmful effects of it to bystanders and children, is less harmful than cigarettes because it has less carcinogens and is essentially a flavored nicotine kool-aide being vaporized and inhaled. Is effectively a solution to everything that society and the status quo found bad (over the last 10 years) in smoking. Ahhh, but wait! The government was making billions off the tobacco industry in taxes (and campaign contributions). This isn't as much of a money maker. So...let's regulate the bejeezus out of it with new laws and regulations and then, tax the Hell out of it!

Isn't anyone else getting a little tired of these "elected representatives" we have in Washington as well as in our own State capitol having their greedy, sticky little fingers and noses in everything? I am.

The Enquirer
The Enquirer 05/05/14 - 08:06 am

This is just another example

This is just another example of how big money is used from the tobacco companies to stop their biggest competitor from infringing on their profits. I wonder how much money is being put in the back pockets of our government? While I have no problem of prohibition of sales to minors, I do think that it is obviously a safer and cheaper way of smoking for the smokers and the people around them. My wife has been smoking E-cigs for about a year and half and it has been so much better for her and me. As mentioned , no ashes or butts, which really annoys me or second hand smoke. Tobacco companies are afraid of losing more and more customers and I am sure they are spearheading this legislation. Most people start smoking before they are 18 and are well addicted as teenagers. There should be some exceptions for those to help them get off the habit. P.S. A true test. I can't smoke cigarettes because they make me sick which I am glad, that's why I never started, but I can take a puff off my wife's E-cig without that nauseating feeling. Seems better to me and less addictive because I haven't run right out and purchased me one.

Back to Top

Sign up for's morning newsletter and get top stories each morning in your inbox.