A baseline understanding of state laws governing e-cigarettes

Tob Control. 2014;23:iii37–iii40.
Authors: Gourdet CK, Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ.

Background: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been available for purchase in the USA since 2007, and have grown rapidly in popularity. Currently, there are no federal restrictions on e-cigarettes; therefore, any regulations are under the purview of state and/or local governments. This study examines state laws governing e-cigarettes through youth access restrictions, smoke-free air requirements and/or excise taxation. Methods: Codified statutory and administrative laws, attorney general opinions, executive orders, and revenue notices and rulings effective as of 15 November 2013 for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, were compiled using Boolean searches in Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw. All laws were analysed by two study authors to determine the presence and components of relevant provisions. Two categories of laws were identified: (1) explicit e-cigarette laws and (2) laws focused on tobacco-derived and/or nicotine-containing products. Results: Thirty-four states’ laws address e-cigarettes either explicitly or as part of language applying to tobacco-derived or nicotine-containing products. Laws explicitly addressing e-cigarettes primarily focus on youth access (22 states) or smoke-free air (12 states); only Minnesota imposes an excise tax on e-cigarettes. Similarly, tobacco-derived or nicotine-containing products are primarily regulated through youth access restrictions(6 states), smoke-free air laws (5 states), or excise taxation (2 states). Conclusions: In the current absence of federal law governing e-cigarettes, more than one-half of the states have taken the initiative to regulate these products. The opportunity exists for the remaining states to incorporate e-cigarette-related restrictions into their pre-existing tobacco control laws.

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