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States Take the Lead on E-Cigarette Legislation, According to WestlawNext

Americans offer split opinion on e-cigarette laws, says FindLaw survey

EAGAN, Minn., April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules for electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, 46 states already have proposed or enacted legislation related to e-cigarettes, according to data found on WestlawNext®, the leading online legal research service.

Of those states, at least 20 have proposed or enacted legislation that includes e-cigarettes in the state's existing smoking bans or otherwise prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in public areas, workplaces and schools, with a few exceptions in varying states.

State lawmakers also have been proactively pursuing legislation that would limit the accessibility of e-cigarettes to minors41 states have proposed or enacted legislation that would prohibit sale to, or possession of, e-cigarettes by minors.

E-cigarettes use a battery-powered device to heat liquidwhich often contains nicotine and can include flavor additivescreating a vapor that is then inhaled. The devices have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Additional findings of note through WestlawNext include:

  • New Jersey has proposed legislation that would urge the federal government to regulate e-cigarettes.
  • Illinois has proposed legislation that would enact safety standards for packaging of e-cigarettes.
  • Wisconsin currently has an indoor smoking ban in place, but has introduced billsnone have passed, howeverthat would specifically exclude "holding, or inhaling or exhaling vapor or a vaporized solution from, an electronic device that does not contain tobacco" from the definition of "smoking."
  • Maine, Montana, Nevada and Texas do not have any e-cigarette legislation enacted or proposed at this time.

While many states have been proactive in regulating e-cigarettes, Americans are divided on whether e-cigarettes should be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes.

According to a survey conducted by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website, 43 percent of Americans say that e-cigarettes should be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes, while only 27 percent oppose the move. However, among people who have tried e-cigarettes, a majority55 percentsay that they should not be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes.

Among the additional survey findings:

  • Only 15 percent of American adults say they have tried e-cigarettes.
  • One-third of people between the ages of 25 and 34 have tried an e-cigarette.
  • The majority of people who have tried e-cigarettes only did so once. Only one out of every five people who have ever tried an e-cigarette now use it more than once a month.

"The divide between those that believe e-cigarettes should be subject to the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes, and those who don't see the need for the same regulation, couldn't be any clearer," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. "E-cigarette users commonly feel that the devices, with their absence of second-hand smoke, are less of a nuisance, while non-users hold firm that smoking is smoking, regardless of the way it's done. It will be interesting to see what happens and how the public reacts to the FDA proposals."

WestlawNext data was researched and compiled through April 23, 2014. The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full FindLaw survey results and analysis are available upon request.

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SOURCE WestlawNext; FindLaw

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