Davis County looks at regulating e-cigarettes
Health • Proposal would cover labeling, nicotine content.
Published: November 12, 2013 09:55PM
Updated: November 12, 2013 10:24PM
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Mel Hamed holds a Clir brand e-cigarette that he sells at a kiosk in Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in this photo from Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Chad Ryan, The Journal Gazette)

Clearfield • The Davis County Board of Health is considering limiting the amount of nicotine allowed in e-cigarettes and banning advertising that claims the devices are a healthy alternative to smoking or can help smokers kick the habit.

A proposed regulation also would require that the liquid used in e-cigarettes, which also are called electronic cigarettes, be clearly labeled with ingredients and come in containers with child-proof caps.

Board members voted unanimously Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the proposal. A date has not been set.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn a liquid into vapor, which is inhaled by the user. The e-liquid, also referred to as e-juice or smoke juice, typically includes nicotine and often has flavoring added to it.

Proponents contend that e-cigarettes are safer because the vapor does not contain the harmful levels of toxic chemicals or carcinogens that the smoke from regular cigarettes does. Some vapers — the term used by e-cigarette users instead of “smokers” — say these devices have helped them reduce their smoking or quit altogether.

Opponents say the devices and flavored liquid are enticing young people who otherwise wouldn’t use nicotine to try the product. The Food and Drug Administration has said because e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, there is no way of knowing whether they are safe and how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled.

The federal agency also has said it is developing a rule to regulate e-cigarettes the same way it does regular cigarettes.

The Davis County Health Department developed the proposed regulation with input from the vaping industry. Aaron Frazier, director of Utah Vapers, a Salt Lake City-based consumer group that advocates the use of e-cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction method, said his organization supports regulating the product.

The proposal would set the maximum allowable nicotine content in e-liquid at 36 milligrams per milliliter and would require a warning on labels to keep the product away from children and pets.

Other provisions in the proposal would make it illegal to sell e-liquid to anyone under 19 years old. Utah law already requires that people be at least 19 to purchase or possess an e-cigarette; health officials said they want to make it clear that minors also cannot have the e-liquid.

In addition, e-liquid manufacturing facilities and businesses that allow sampling of e-liquids would have to get operating permits.

If adopted, the regulation would apply to electronic smoking devices and e-liquid sold, manufactured or sampled anywhere in Davis County. Violations would be a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. However, Davis County Health Department Director Lewis Garrett said the department typically prefers to work to bring violators in compliance, rather than charge them.

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC

What are electronic cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

Source: Food and Drug Administration