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Debate Over Possible E-Cig Regulations Rages On

E Cig Smoke Shop

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — The pressure is growing for the Federal Drug Administration to issue regulations that would address the making, marketing, and selling of electronic cigarettes, especially when it comes to kids.

It’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that nearly two million middle and high school kids tried e-cigs last year. The debate on the proposed changes, though, is still hot.

David Glantz says in the past year electronic cigarettes have been tougher and tougher to keep on his shelves at Buckeye Brother’s Smoke Shop in Springfield.

“It’s an alternative to smoking cigarettes, too,” Glantz said. “Plus with the restrictions on smoking inside and whatever. This is alternative because there’s really no smell to it.”

Or paper, or tar. Instead, a heating element vaporizes liquid, which creates vapor with nicotine. Glantz says many of his customers are trying to quit smoking.

However, unlike real cigarettes,  e-cigs come in all colors and flavors, including kid friendly bubble gum, cotton candy, and more. Martha Coakley is one of 40 attorney generals that signed a letter this month, saying e-cigs need to be regulated like real cigarettes so that kids can’t buy them and aren’t lured by advertising.  Glantz doesn’t think it’s necessary.

“I really don’t have anybody really looking for any crazy flavors for electronic cigarettes, it’s usually just menthol or regular tobacco flavored,” Glantz said. “The government has to learn to stay out of people’s business. You know, stop being so paternalistic.”

However, while some stores don’t sell the e-cigs in question, you never know which stores will. That’s why some are saying they have to be regulated.

“Nicotine is regulated in all other aspects except in e-cigarettes so it’s one of the things we don’t know about them is how much is being delivered,” Chief Thoracic Surgeon at Baystate Medical Center Dr. Gary Hochheiser said. “Nicotine for adolescents or kids is not a good thing.”

Dr. Hochheiser says doctors have other concerns besides the nicotine.

“We have seen a few health hazards from it with lung problems from we think the delivery,” he said. “Not the nicotine itself but what the nicotine is in.”

Glantz says that’s why stores have to be responsible with checking who they sell to: only adults.

The attorney generals’ letter has asked the FDA issue regulations by October 31st to get the ball rolling. The process has been delayed in the past.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • Jake

    I think the government, or lack thereof, has bigger things they should be focusing on than bubble gum flavored e-cigs……….just my $.02

  • Masshole1977

    Obviously some kids are using these to try to be cool with their friends, isn’t this a much safer alternative to actual smoking?!
    As far as the flavors like bubble gum a cotton candy……c’mon cigg company’s, wtf

  • Brewlady

    I AM AN EX-SMOKER. Without e-cigs, I would not have quit.

    I smoked for 36 years. Grew up in Springfield and now reside in Wilbraham. Over three years ago I purchased my first electronic cigarette kit at a local store. I honestly didn’t think it would work. I had tried to quit many times, but the truth is I enjoyed smoking. No matter what FDA-approved pharmaceutical product I used, I always ended up smoking again. At the time I didn’t know that these products have a dismal success rate, ensuring that smokers will continue to either purchase cigarettes or purchase products like Chantix, which is directly responsible for hundreds of completed suicides. Don’t worry, though, Pfizer will be happy to settle with family members, after all, they are raking in millions selling this deadly product. Unlike my failed experiences with Big Pharma products, within a few days of using an e-cig, I no longer wanted to smoke a cigarette. I spent hours online, learning about the product, and ordering flavors that weren’t available locally. I found that flavors that did not taste like the cigarettes I smoked were more enjoyable. As my senses of smell and taste improved, I tried cotton candy, bubble gum, even bacon flavored e-liquid. These flavors are pleasant, not just to kids, but even to old ladies like me (well, maybe not the bacon so much). The flavors I use the most are caramel and cinnamon.

    Nicotine prohibitionists don’t care about people like me. But what about the other residents in Massachusetts who still smoke? They deserve truthful information about tobacco harm reduction. Banning a product that does not harm bystanders because someone else doesn’t like how it looks is wrong. And so is lying about the imaginary dangers in order to keep tobacco taxes flowing into the state. Nicotine in any form should be regulated like alcohol, and not sold to children. With the exception of cigarettes, which pose health and fire risk, nicotine containing products shouldn’t be banned anywhere. Alcohol intoxicates, but an adult can drive to a restaurant or bar and consume enough to be a danger to themselves and others when they drive back home. All I’m doing is using a non-intoxicating product that contains nicotine, which isn’t even carcinogenic. A recent study by Drexel University’s Professor Igor Byrstyn has confirmed that the vapor does not pose a risk to bystanders.

    Smokers who replace their tobacco cigarettes with e-cigs experience improved health. E-cigs aren’t SAFE, but they are 99% safer than inhaling burning tobacco. What this product is harming is tax revenue, and every adult who uses a reduced-harm alternative is taking funding away from anti-tobacco groups. Almost $6 of every pack of cigarettes sold in Massachusetts is tax. The government relies on this money, and as more adults realize that there are safer ways to continue to use nicotine, those taxes decrease. This isn’t about health, it’s about ensuring that programs funded by cigarette taxes continue to receive funding. What government is trying to do is simply despicable, and as long as the FDA and the CDC continue to lie about tobacco harm reduction, I will do everything I can to make sure that adult smokers get truthful information. It’s time to stop the lies.

  • pageanmoon

    First I would like to ask where the reporter got his/her numbers from. How did they come to the number of almost 2 million from a survey that was given to 19,000 students in 2011 and then 25,000 in 2012? The numbers don’t add up. I was under the impression that reporters actually investigated before writing a story. Apparently this wasn’t case here. If the reporter took the time to do any research he/she would have found that some very important questions were left out of the survey, such as how many of these kids are already smoking cigarettes, how many, if any are still using these devices, and was there even nicotine in the ones they tried?
    And really “kid friendly”? Have you been inside a liquor store lately? I’m almost 50 years old and have been using these products for over two years. I use flavors such as bubble gum, watermelon and blue raspberry. I don’t want tobacco or menthol flavors. Regulations to keep minors from purchasing them I’m in total agreement with, but taking the choice from adults I am NOT.