New Davis County regulation limits nicotine in e-cigarettes
Davis County • Board of Health also bans ads touting the devices as a way to stop smoking.
Published: February 12, 2014 07:25AM
Updated: February 11, 2014 09:49PM
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 has approved a regulation that limits the nicotine content in electronic cigarettes and prohibits claims that the devices can aid smokers in kicking the habit.

The regulation, passed Tuesday by unanimous vote, also requires that the liquid used in e-cigarettes be packaged in containers with childproof caps and the ingredients be clearly labeled, including the amount of nicotine.

Violations are class B misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail. Subsequent violations within two years of the first one are class A misdemeanors. The regulation applies everywhere in Davis County, including incorporated areas.

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

The Food and Drug Administration has said there is no way of knowing whether e-cigarettes are safe and how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled because they have not been fully studied.

Opponents also claim that the devices and flavored liquid are enticing young people who otherwise wouldn’t use nicotine. Lewis Garrett, director of the Davis County Health Department, said e-cigarettes are more popular than regular cigarettes with the county’s teenagers.

Under Utah law, consumers must be at least 19 to purchase or possess an e-cigarette. The Davis County regulation bans the sale of e-liquid to anyone under age 19 and clarifies that youths also cannot possess it.

In addition, facilities that manufacture the liquid must get an operating permit from the county health department. Many vapor stores make the liquid on site, according to the department.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, with similar provisions has been introduced this session in the Utah Legislature. HB112 would ban advertising e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool; prohibit people younger than 19 from buying or possessing electronic cigarettes; and require a license from the state Department of Health to sell or manufacture e-cigarettes or e-liquid.

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