The FDA announced yesterday a proposal to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way the agency regulates any other tobacco product. Shop owners are not opposed to the regulation, but say they think the idea of treating e-cigs like a tobacco product will perpetuate misconceptions about the product.
"If they regulate us as a tobacco product, even though they're not starting there, they're going to end up taxing us like a tobacco product, and it's going to raise the prices," says Lajuana McGehee, owner of Mesquite Vapors.
Electronic cigarettes are battery operated products designed to turn nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals into aerosol to be inhaled by the user. E-cigarettes have become a nearly two billion dollar industry. If adopted, the government plan would roce manufactureres to curb sales to minors, disclose ingredients and place warning labels on their products. Most of which shopowners say they already do.
"You know, it needs to be regulated as to letting minors buy or not, which the majority of us don't let minors in," said McGehee. "I hope they will use their heads and a lot of common sense. What I hear is they want to regulate us like tobacco products. There is not tobacco in it. It does have nicotine, but it doesn't have tobacco."
"That would be a misconception on their part. There again, we have nothing to do with the tobacco product, so they need to do their research themselves, and find out tobacco and these e-liquids are totally different," said Russell Anglen, owner of the Great E-vape.
However, some are still concerned about e-cigarettes and the lack of studies on the long term effects of what it can do to someone's health. Lativa Matthews, director of Impact Futures, is also concerned the e-cigarettes may be targeting youth.
"Probably the scariest thing about this is that its marketed to kiddos with the flavor and saying it's a healthy alternative, and knowing there are no age restrictions yet... there are no long term studies on your health as to what these things can do, so maybe if people know that, it will make them think twice," said Matthews.