New Jersey is eager to become the first American state to implement a ban on public use of electronic smoking devises.
A regulation to prohibit the usage of electronic cigarettes was unanimously adopted by six members of the NJ Senate Health Committee.
In conformity with the bill, the definition of the term “smoking process” would be expanded to cover the usage of e-cigs. Smoking would be defined as any process of inhaling tobacco and exhaling smoke, or any other substance or vapor that can be inhaled and exhaled. This amendment would permit to include the usage of electronic smoking devises and its sales to adolescents in the list of activities prohibited under the NJ Smoke Free Air Act.
The ordinance was introduced by Democratic senators Joseph Vitale and Robert Gordon.
According to Sen. Gordon electronic cigarettes are devices made from stainless steel to resemble traditional cigarettes. The devices even have an amber tip and contain liquid nicotine solution, although many e-cig marketers allege that their devises are nicotine-free. When a user inhales it, a battery-operated sensor turns on heating mechanism that heats and delivers nicotine solution to the mouthpiece.
The solution can also contain a flavoring agent, varying from chocolate to mint and fruit that can be inhaled with nicotine vapor. A specialized lamp at the tip of device mimics the burning tip of cigarettes. The device is operated by a common lithium-ion battery.
Sen. Vitale said that the battery heats the nicotine solution that also contains diethylene glycol and delivers the solution to a user when he inhales it. Scientists acknowledge that propylene and diethylene glycol, which are components of antifreeze liquid, form the vapor that a user exhales to produce a mist simulating tobacco smoke.
In conformity with a recent declaration by Health Canada, the Canadian government agency that regulates drugs and other public health therapies, propylene glycol can cause internal irritations when inhaled.
Under the NJ Smoke Free Air Act usage of cigarettes, cigars, other tobacco products or any product that can be smoked is prohibited in all public places, including office centers and restaurants.
The author of the bill said that it would regulate electronic smoking devises as the new methods of nicotine delivery, thus the use of such devises in public would be banned.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has halted the shipments of electronic cigarettes into the country since the devises were not previously tested and approved for human use by the FDA. Nevertheless, the e-cigs have reached the target US audience, as they are commonly sold in kiosks and in online stores.
If the bill is approved by the full Senate, it would penalize any individual caught on using electronic cigarettes in any public place. The offenders would be fined $250 for the first violation, $500, and the fine would rise to $1,000 for every subsequent violation.
Congressman Frank Lautenberg has urged the FDA to ban sales of electronic cigarettes across the country, with his appeal being backed by various public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, an others.