Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) has sponsored legislation that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. On Wednesday, May 30, the bill came to the Assembly floor for a vote and passed.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that vaporize cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals that the user inhales. Currently, they are marketed as a smoking cessation device or a healthier alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products.
“Electronic cigarettes have become extremely popular over the past few years but, unfortunately, there is little information about the risks associated with smoking them,” said Raia. “The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently conducted tests that have found that they can be dangerous for users who inhale. Although they are electronic, they still contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals.”
The assemblyman also noted that unlike traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarette producers are not mandated to promote any health warnings comparable to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or conventional tobacco products.
“This legislation was drafted because of the need to protect children and young adults from the dangers of smoking these e-cigarettes,” said Raia. “After the FDA starts to regulate this product, we may find that they are just as lethal as cigarettes made with tobacco. It is better to find out through scientific testing than by a child dying from lung cancer.”