By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No shortage of cigarette regulations. But what about e-cigarettes?
The co-founder of the music file sharing site napster just announced he would invest $75 million into a company that makes electronic cigarettes, the battery-powered cigarette-resembling apparatus that turns nicotine-laced liquid into vapor when puffed. So you may wonder: are those really better for you than real cigarettes?
I don’t know.
Listen to the medical report for that answer. Your legal question is: what are the regulations on who can smoke ‘em (or e-smoke ‘em or vaporize them or whatever you do with them) and where?
The answer to that is: (spoiler alert on the medical report) no one is sure yet whether e-cigarettes are actually better for you than the real ones, so the federal government is waiting before deciding how regulated they should be. As a result, there’s no federal regulation yet. And while the FDA plans to treat them like tobacco products, it hasn’t yet promulgated regulations.
For now, it’s up to states to decide. Around a dozen states have banned their sales to minors, and several states are revising their indoor smoking bans to include e-cigarette vapor. Airlines currently don’t allow e-cigarettes to be smoked on flights.
Bottom line is that the jury is still out on their benefit, so before you start puffing, you may want to wait to see if you’re going from the frying pan into the e-fire.