Retailers also are required to sell e cigarettes from behind the counter so that it’s harder for minors to get their hands on them.

E cigarettes are battery powered fake cigarettes. They contain no tobacco, require no combustion and, after exhaustive health studies, appear to cause no physical harm compared to real cigarettes, at least.

You can’t even call their use “smoking.” Some users call it “vaping” for the vapor the devices create by heating up a liquified nicotine mix. When puffed and exhaled, the white, misty vapor resembles smoke like your breath on a cold day.

By duplicating the rituals of smoking, the devices are designed to help wean users off the nasty habit.

I understand how that works. Although I am too cheap to buy an e cig and the nicotine patch didn’t work for me, I alternate between nicotine chewing gum and a nonelectric nicotine inhaler prescribed by my doctor.

Unfortunately, I must confess, I am still addicted to nicotine, although through my inhaler and the gum. Don’t worry about it, says my doctor, echoing other health experts. Even if the research is still inconclusive on the health risks of nicotine substitutes, anything is better than falling back into the grip of tobacco.

So what’s the problem?


It is easy to see how protecting impressionable youths from the lethal lure of demon tobacco. Nine in 10 start smoking as teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stopping teen smoking is a cause that is tough for politicians to resist, even when the dangers of e cigs are not entirely clear or present.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took up former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crusade against tobacco and other potential health hazards, including e cigarettes, even if they only look like a health hazard.

How far, Emanuel nobly asked, are elected officials willing to go to protect children from addiction? Well, gee, when you put it that way, what politician is not going switch immediately into a better safe than sorry mode?

Since 2009, when the first e cigarette bills were introduced, 25 states, the District of Columbia and numerous municipalities, including Evanston, have passed measures defining and regulating e cigarettes.

All of those states restrict sales of e cigarettes to minors and most require identification for in person and online transactions.

Fine. I am completely in favor of keeping these smoking devices out of the hands of underage users. Our young people have enough dangerous temptations around them.

European lawmakers reject tight restrictions on e-cigarettes –

Buy cigarettes online: cheap cigarettes shop “”

European lawmakers endorsed a permissive approach to the sale and use of e cigarettes, although the products could not be sold legally to anyone younger than 18.

The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has said it wants to issue regulations on the nicotine delivery devices soon. Industry leaders and public health officials had expected them by the end of October but the regulations may be delayed because of the partial government shutdown that has emptied F.D.A. offices.

The electronic cigarette measure in Europe was widely watched because the use of e cigarettes, primarily by smokers seeking a way to kick the tobacco habit, has skyrocketed in Europe and the United States. Instead of smoke from burning tobacco, users ingest the nicotine in the form of vapors from a heated fluid an alternative to smoking commonly called vaping.

The advent of vaping has removed some of the stigma of tobacco use, and in some cases people can use e cigarettes in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited. The European Union legislation, however, does not address the issue of where vaping is permitted, leaving that to national and local jurisdictions.

Some Wall Street analysts predict that sales of the battery powered devices could surpass those of cigarettes within a decade. But the products and their use have quickly outrun any regulations on either side of the Atlantic. Some people hope this new technology will become a widely used alternative to tobacco. While their health effects are not fully understood, e cigarettes are generally considered less harmful than smoking.

E cigarette companies, supported by growing legions of e cigarette users, had lobbied hard against medicinal regulation. They welcomed the European Parliament vote as a victory for good health and good sense.

This is a fantastic result for public health and the millions of smokers around Europe who are switching to e cigarettes, said Charles Hamshaw Thomas, corporate affairs director of Britain s biggest e cigarette brand by sales volume, E Lites. Common sense has prevailed.

But while exempting e cigarettes from an onerous and potentially costly certification process required for drugs, an amendment to the Tobacco Products Directive approved by parliamentarians imposes tight restrictions on advertising and sponsorship. In these areas, e cigarettes face the same restraints as regular cigarettes, including the ban on sales to young people.

As expected, the European Parliament also voted to approve measures adopted this year by European Union officials, banning conventional cigarettes with menthol flavoring and requiring cigarette packs to carry health warnings in pictures and text covering 65 percent of the packages, up from 40 percent. But Parliament voted to delay the menthol ban by five years. It will take effect in eight years instead of three.

Regulators in the United States must now grapple with two serious concerns public health officials have raised about e cigarettes. Scientists are not certain of the health impact of using e cigarettes or of inhaling secondhand vapor. Perhaps more pressing, it is not clear whether e cigarettes will revive an interest in smoking by celebrating a behavior that health officials have spent decades trying to demonize.

These products threaten to undo all that, said Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, who wants the F.D.A. to issue tough guidelines for how e cigarettes can be marketed and sold. With such regulations, e cigarettes have potentially positive value, he said, but we ve already seen that, if left to their own, e cigarette manufacturers will reach out to our children, do everything to maximize sales, including re glamorizing smoking, and that s where we are today.