This week, the City of Boston didn’t wait for the federal government or the State of Massachusetts to do something about trendy electronic cigarettes, and on December 1, 2011, Boston issued a BAN on the use of e-cigs on the job (in workplaces) as well as LIMITING SALES to adults-only.
The Boston Public Health Commission may be light years ahead of the rest of the country in dealing with this popular and largely unregulated device. That’s right: there’s not much law out there to protect your loved ones – including your teenagers – from trying out these products.
What are electronic cigarettes?
These are devices that are being advertised as a safe substitute for tobacco products – like cigarettes or cigars. They’re also known as vaporizing devices, and so far, no one is calling them a drug or a drug-related product.
Developed in China, these e-cigarettes are either plastic or metal cylinders that are charged with an lithium ion battery and they look like cigarettes or cigars, usually. Sometimes they come with a USB port. Some are throw-away, some are reusable.
Here’s how they work. The user sucks on the “e-cig” like they would otherwise smoke a cigarette, to get a vaporized mist that has a tobacco flavor. (Some e-cigs offer other flavor options).
Thing is — there’s nicotine in that vaporized mist. That’s right: nicotine. Nicotine, by the way, is the chemical contained in tobacco that is addictive.
Which is why there are a lot of people that think someone needs to look into these e-cigarettes that are becoming so very popular. People like those concerned about public health in the City of Boston as well as:
the American Association of Public Health Physicians who in April 2010 announced that they believe that e-cigarettes may help smokers kick the smoking habit but that these devices should never be used by kids. This doctor group wants the FDA to get involved and re-classify the electronic cigarette.
2. World Health Organization
Three years ago, the World Health Organization warned that electronic cigarettes were being marketed all over the world even though there wasn’t any real testing done to make sure this was a safe product. No one appeared to pay much attention to the WHO.
What Does This Mean to You?
Smoking is bad, and kicking the smoking habit is important. However, using a product without sufficient testing is dangerous, too. Particularly if you are a teenager or young adult who thinks the e-cigarette is just plain fun to use.
From a products liability law perspective, it’s things like this — introducing a product into the marketplace without bothering to make sure it’s safe — that can result in nightmare situations and real life tragedies.
Be careful out there.