Electronic Cigarettes: Are They A Menace to Minors?

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Lacey Underall of E-Cig.org for her comment below clarifying that the bill mentioned in this post bans ALL sales of electronic cigarettes in California absent action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not just sales to minors. This post has been changed accordingly.  Lacey also notes: “The bill also was changed so that ANY product that vaporizers nicotine is not allowed for sale in the state of California. As the wording was very loose, it makes one wonder if this means that all theatrical fog machines will be taken off of the market as well.”)

Sales of electronic cigarettes would be banned in California under a measure awaiting action by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bill is one of the 700-odd pieces of legislation sent to the GOP governor by the Legislature before it adjourned for the year on September 11. He has 30 days to act on them or the bills become law without his signature. 

Schwarzenegger has taken no position on the electronic cigarette measure.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices, usually shaped like cigarettes, cigars or pens. A heating element or atomizer vaporizes a liquid solution of nicotine in the device’s mouthpiece, allowing it to be inhaled.

A  “smoker” can choose the level of nicotine they desire, including zero, and a variety of flavors for the “smoke.”

Among the flavors are mint, orange, coffee, vanilla and strawberry. Some electronic cigarettes try to mimic the taste of cigarette brands like Marlboro.

San Leandro Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett, the author of the measure, argues the flavors are designed to entice minors into smoking. And that the devices are easily accessible to minors through shopping mall kiosks.

The Electronic Cigarette Association, an industry trade group, says its products are aimed only at smokers of legal age and that flavor preferences are “universal and not age-specific.”

Smoking Everywhere, a Florida-based maker of what it calls an “E-Cig” describes its product this way on its website:

“(The) E-Cig will provide smokers an experience similar to smoking a traditional cigarette without the fire, flame, tobacco, tar, carbon monoxide, ash, stub or smell found in real cigarettes.”

Both Smoking Everywhere’s website and that of NJOY, another e-cigarette maker, require visitors to click on a box saying they are 18 years of age or older.

Corbett’s bill, SB 400, would halt all sales of e-cigarettes that have not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

So far, no brands of electronic cigarettes have been approved or rejected. That’s because, as the Electronic Cigarette Association notes, the “FDA currently only has jurisdiction to regulate drugs and medical devices and electronic cigarettes are neither.”

Corbett’s bill would classify electronic cigarettes as a drug, allowing FDA intervention.

““These products can be dangerous and are being targeted to minors at mall kiosks and by offering flavored nicotine cartridges,” said Corbett in a July statement. “Until the Food and Drug Administration begins to regulate these products, it is imperative that the state steps up to protect its children.”

In July, the FDA issued the results of a laboratory analysis of two types of electronic cigarettes. The analysis found traces of carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze.

The third paragraph of the FDA press release announcing the test results reads:

“These products are marketed and sold to young people and are readily available online and in shopping malls. In addition, these products do not contain any health warnings comparable to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or conventional cigarettes. They are also available in different flavors, such as chocolate and mint, which may appeal to young people.”

In its response to the FDA study, NJOY said that since its products went on the market in April 2007 there have been “no reports of significant adverse health consequences.”

The company also said it doesn’t market its products to children and takes “affirmative steps” to ensure they aren’t sold to minors, such as placement of the products in retail stores.

As for the antifreeze element, NJOY notes that doesn’t apply to its product that was tested.

“(The) FDA’s report simply shows that the products contain certain tobacco-specific impurities at much lower levels than conventional cigarettes,” NJOY said.

Smoking Everywhere filed a lawsuit in April in Washington D.C. federal court challenging FDA jurisdiction over its products.

In the first action of its kind in the country, the Oregon Department of Justice reached a settlement announced July 30 with two retailers in which the retailers agreed not to sell NJOY E-Cigs in Oregon until they are either approved by the FDA or a court rules the FDA does not have the authority to regulate electronic cigarettes.

When first introduced in February, Corbett’s bill made the manufacture of California “green” vehicles eligible for subsidies. It passed the Senate in that form but was gutted and changed in the Assembly on June 23 to ban electronic cigarettes.  





  1. …breathing a sigh of relief….the forests will certainly be safer…no?

    Comment by Smokey's Gal — 9.16.2009 @ 4:15 pm

  2. Are they green cigs?

    Comment by J. Simitian — 9.17.2009 @ 7:36 am

  3. I’m just wondering if any of the politicians responsible for the boycott and bans regarding the electronic cigarette even took the time to look at the FDA test results. I also direct that same question to the health agencies, anti-smoking activists and everyone else who seem intent on removing these products from the marketplace. It certainly didn’t take me long to find the lab report and figure out what was going on and I have to say that I am offended and more than slightly angered that the FDA would deliberately and intentionally mislead the general population the way they have, with regards to the safety of this new product.

    According to the FDA report, they found levels of NAB at 0.69, NAT 2.16, NNK showed at 1.46 and NNN was 3.87 … 8.2 in total .. now since I’m not too familiar with these nitrosamines they were so concerned with, I figured I should check out the levels in the tobacco products as well. Since these nitrosamines are “tobacco specific” obviously, they would be found in tobacco as well, that only made sense and at least it would give me a good idea as to where the levels should be, since cigarettes are an approved product and have been on the market forever.

    I did a quick search and found the results of some of the tobacco toxin tests. As it turned out, Marlboro, one of the most toxic brands tested, the levels were 190 NAB, NAT was 4900, the NNK level was at 1800 and levels of 4300 showed for NNN. The total nitrosamine level was 11,190 and no that isn’t a decimal point.

    Then I checked into the other test results as compared to the Nicotrol Inhaler and they are as follows … Limit of detection Cotinine 20 ppb. Anabasine 10 ppb; myosmine 69 ppb; ?-nicotyrine 170 ppb – present but at less than the level of the Nicotrol specification. Analyte was detected but at a level less than the limit-of-quantification.

    The FDA would have us believe that there is cause for concern regarding the vapor that the electronic cigarette produces … which is patently ridiculous. There is no burning of the ingredients, such as with the conventional cigarette and it is the burning process, which is required to create the toxic mix of over 4000 chemicals that form the deadly smoke that traditional cigarettes emit.

    They based their July 22nd “Smoke and Mirrors” announcement … on the results of these tests. Tests that showed detectable levels of certain elements, which are found in all nicotine based products, mind you, the levels detected in the electronic cigarette were below those determined to be harmful and well below the minimum risk levels accepted by the US Public Health Service and OSHA.

    In fact the electronic cigarette tested lower than the Nicotrol Inhaler used as the control … an “approved” nicotine based product already on the market, which I’ll point out, are used wherever and whenever the person wishes. Consumers utilizing these products have certainly not been forced to use them in cordoned off designated lozenge, gum or inhaler areas and I’ve never seen anyone running for their life and bolting out safety exits when someone uses one of the nicotine inhalers, pops a piece of nicotine gum or lozenge in their mouth or slaps on a nicotine patch.

    If anyone is interested in reviewing the actual undisclosed test results, feel free to stop in at my website … unlike the FDA, I don’t mind providing easy access to the information.

    Comment by Monte Alto — 9.17.2009 @ 1:00 pm

  4. Actually, at the last minute, the bill was changed! If the governor doesn’t veto this bill, the sale of electronic cigarettes will be banned to all consumers regardless of age, until the FDA approves them. The bill also was changed so that ANY product that vaporizers nicotine is not allowed for sale in the state of California. As the wording was very loose, it makes one wonder if this means that all theatrical fog machines will be taken off of the market as well.

    That should make for some interesting theatrical and movie productions.

    The vote was very close… 16 yea 14 nay So if you live in California and use an electronic cigarette, now is the time to contact your Governor and submit your plea. He can veto this and if given the proper information, he just may!

    It was also interesting that there were three anti-tobacco/smoking groups who were for this bill, and it was also noted that the bill was not being opposed by the tobacco industry, which makes complete sense considering the tobacco industry did not release this product to the market, small American businesses did.

    Time to speak up!

    Comment by LaceyUnderall — 9.18.2009 @ 1:54 pm

  5. Hi there … I\’m just correcting some information which was in my earlier comment.

    These test in Table 1. page 4 of the FDA report, actually showed that nitrosamines were not detected in the majority of the samples tested.

    The information regarding the amounts of nitrosamines detected are the results obtained from a chart which was supplied by Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health with over 20 years of experience in tobacco control, primarily as a researcher.

    As stated in his blog titled \"The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary\", he showed comparative levels of carcinogens found in the Electronic Cigarette, FDA approved NRTs and real cigarettes. Research with regards to the Electronic Cigarette – 8.183

    Comment by Monte Alto — 9.21.2009 @ 8:40 am

  6. A question was asked of whether these e-cigarettes are a menace to minors? Actually, the answer starts in our home. If children or minors do not see their family members smoking or they are guided throughout their lives, there’s little possibility that they will be addicted to smoking. But family is not the only culprit, also the environment they are living in. So I think , we are all responsible for our actions. When lighting a tobacco, let’s take into consideration the people around us, especially minors. I think e-cigarettes are not the menace.

    Comment by powerpuff — 9.24.2009 @ 6:23 am

  7. Parents are coming up short on their responsibilities towards raising their kids. Although, I can’t imagine too many parents would let their kids run around with $150 dollars to buy these things when a pack of smokes is 6 bucks. Although I would rather have my kids get hooked on vapor than smoke, but that doesn’t apply to me because I raised my kids right and they know smoking is wrong.

    This product has the capacity to save millions of lives by maintaining the oral fixation while allowing the user to wean off nicotine. Most people in America are non-smokers and except for a few of us, most non-smokers could give a darn about smokers. The whole kid thing is more propaganda as parents let the states raise their kids rather than themselves.

    Comment by Sam — 9.24.2009 @ 9:37 am

  8. The whole process of passing this bill in the legislature was sneaky and underhanded.

    From it’s introduction in February until a last minute revision a week before the vote, this was primarily a bill that addressed the sale of regular cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes were only mentioned in the bill in terms of restricting their sale to minors.

    But a week before the vote, this bill morphed into a COMPLETE BAN on the sale of electronic cigarettes “until they receive FDA approval”.

    The public never had a chance to react to the completely revised bill before they passed it on 9/11, a week later. Ironically, the cigarette industry (who will benefit from the ban of electronic cigarettes) was invited to comment on it, but electronic cigarette interests weren’t even informed, let alone asked to comment. And those of us who “vape” had no clue what was going on until it was too late & the bill was already passed.

    This was a dirty, underhanded trick to keep those of us who use nicotine to be forced to smoke regular cigarettes or to use big pharma’s products, in order to get it. Obviously, the Senate doesn’t give a damn about our health.

    Governor Schwarzenegger needs to veto this bill — not just “not sign it” but veto it! California needs the business and we don’t need any more Federal restrictions. Isn’t shutting our farm water off enough?

    Call, write, email and twitter Governor Schwarzenegger!

    Comment by KMel — 9.24.2009 @ 1:30 pm

  9. An electronic cigarette is truly a life & a home saver! My experience with an electronic cigarette goes beyond my imagination. This great invention has helped me quit tobacco smoking for good! My home condition is much cleaner,No bad odors& no hazardous chemical pollution around me anymore since I switched to electronic cigarette vaping. My life’s condition has improved by 99.9 %. Amazing Product!

    Comment by Timi - electronic cigarette — 9.28.2009 @ 1:04 pm

  10. If you are not a smoker you will not truly realize the benenfits of this product !!!
    I have tried so many products, and have been unsuccesful at least now I have a chance to cut down on my nicotine intake and not to mention all the other harmful by products you find in a cigarette

    Comment by Dale from www.buyelectroniccigarette.co.za — 10.05.2009 @ 2:08 am

  11. FDA : if you have a real problem with hearth
    Why the normal cigarette are again on the world market ?
    why normal cigarette is available ?
    Why normal cigarette is not banned ?
    surely the cigarette loby say you that you do !
    Surely they make on you pression
    Surely they have autority more than you !
    Are you sure you can banned the ecigarette and look your face on a mirror ?
    Sincerely i m don’t sure
    Sure that’s just business story
    Bests regards
    Take the good decision and think that’s the decision you take is YOUR !

    Comment by Neuvy — 10.06.2009 @ 11:59 am

  12. I heard they are banning it in my home state of California.
    What a bummer. I was even smoking mine on the beach.

    e cigarette

    Comment by Mike - e cigarette — 10.07.2009 @ 3:55 pm

  13. If cigarettes cause cancer how can they still are legal?

    Comment by electronic cigarette — 10.12.2009 @ 11:24 am

  14. Smoking of E-cigarettes is accessible and it has a variety flavors to choice but same as the ordinary cigarettes it is not preferably for those who are minors.

    Comment by e-cig — 10.14.2009 @ 11:46 pm

  15. Governor Schwarzenegger Vetoed the Bill to Ban Electronic Cigarettes in California. Yeah Arnold. We appreciate you protecting the rights of smokers to choose an alternative to a known killer.

    Comment by Electronic Cigs in California — 10.16.2009 @ 5:26 am

  16. It’s all about the revenue the government would loose if the e cigarette becomes popular. Tabacco cigarette sales would go down which in turn the tax revenue would go down. They’ll either ban them or tax the hell out of them…watch!

    Comment by electronic cigarette — 10.21.2009 @ 6:34 pm

  17. .., If FDA are planning to stop the use of e-cigarette, they should start with the problem with natural smoking cigar.. since e-cigar is less harmful than the natural puffs…

    Comment by best electronic cigarettes — 12.09.2009 @ 11:55 pm

  18. Electronic cigarette, or also known as e-cig or an e-cigarette, is the world’s smallest form of a vaporizer. Unlike herbal vaporizers, the electronic cigarette is designed to vaporize glycerin-based liquids such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. The electronic cigarette consists of 3 parts;rechargeable battery, atomizer, and a cartridge. When a user inhales on an electronic cigarette, the movement of air is detected by a micro sensor which activates the heating element, also known as the atomizer. The atomizer heats up the cartridge containing liquid, which turns into vapo

    Comment by Electronic Cigarette — 12.10.2009 @ 3:21 am

  19. There are loads of products in the market today that are used as alternatives to cigarettes like nicotine gums etc. But they are unable to keep a smoker away from smoking for long. I’ve found that Ritesmoke E Cig are a fantastic alternative.

    Comment by Christine — 12.10.2009 @ 8:31 am

  20. You know what i dont understand, I saw Costco Selling the Njoy e cigarette.

    Comment by E Cigarette — 12.30.2009 @ 2:27 pm

  21. Great decision this month from Judge Leon stopping the FDA from taking e-cigarettes!

    Comment by E-Liquid — 1.27.2010 @ 12:13 am

  22. They stopped me from smoking and that is all i care about

    Comment by electronic cigarette — 2.01.2010 @ 11:56 am

  23. With the recent judge ruling..e cigarette industry looks to have a clearer view of the future.

    Comment by electronic cigarette — 2.02.2010 @ 8:00 pm

  24. E-cigarette is also one of the helpful way for some people for them to quit smoking… somehow this helps the smoker quit bit by bit…

    Comment by stop smoking hypnosis — 2.11.2010 @ 3:02 am

  25. I just don’t get the whole thing. Does the government regulate tobacco? No- so why should they regulate the e-cigs that are are much less riskier?

    Comment by Sally E — 5.11.2010 @ 10:36 am

  26. i feel electric cigarette is the all new alternative smoking solution that is taking the world by storm. Moreover electronic cigarette allows to smoke a vapor that is free of carbon monoxide.

    Comment by e cigarette — 7.15.2010 @ 4:56 am

  27. I think its goodness if we can get away from the flavored e liquids if that means we can actually get the FDA to accept the fact that e cigs are here to stay!

    Comment by Electronic Cigarette Review — 8.24.2010 @ 11:53 am

  28. Smoking electronic cigarettes has so many benefits when compared to tobacco. Electric cigarette is the all new alternative smoking solution that is taking the world by storm. Moreover electronic cigarettes allows to smoke a vapor that is free of carbon monoxide. This is one of the best way to quit smoking forever.

    Comment by Electronic Cigarettes — 9.07.2010 @ 5:31 am

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