Electronic Smoking Devices (e-cigarettes, hookah pens, etc.)

Electronic smoking devices include electronic cigarettes (commonly called “e-cigarettes”), hookah pens, electronic cigars, etc. They are also recently being referred to as “personal electronic vaporizing units” by some industry trade groups. Throughout this website, the term “e-cigarette” is used broadly to include all types of electronic smoking devices.

Public Health Concerns

E-cigarettes look like real cigarettes but don't contain tobacco in a traditional cigarette format. Instead, e-cigarettes are comprised of a metal tube with a battery that heats and vaporizes a liquid nicotine/propylene glycol solution that contains other chemicals and products, creating a vapor 'smoke' that is breathed in and then exhaled. E-cigarette websites have posted descriptions of how the e-cigarette is "smoked" and creates a "smoke" (see GASP's white paper for details), therefore admitting that the product is in fact "smoked". Since the product is 'smoked' and creates a 'smoke' according to e-cigarette websites, e-cigarettes should not be permissible for use in public places and workplaces where smoking is banned. In New Jersey, since 2010, electronic smoking device use is banned in indoor public places and workplaces where smoking is banned.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studied the vapor solution sold by several e-cigarette companies. In July 2009 the FDA issued initial findings of their results that concluded public health concerns regarding the liquid. Consumer Reports magazine documented e-cigarettes in their May 2012 issue concluding with "Bottom Line: Talk to your doctor before trying to quit smoking with e-cigarettes. Because they're not regulated, safety is a question and you use them at your own risk."

New Jersey has a growing business in electronic cigarette manufacturing, despite the fact that there is no standardization of chemicals or nicotine in the devices. Read a January 18, 2013 NorthJersey.com news article about New Jersey's growth in the e-cigarette industry.

As of November 2013, E-cigarettes do not fall under the same advertising restrictions as other tobacco products, and the companies have recreated the old product marketing strategies of using celebrity endorsements, cartoon characters, and flavors that appeal to kids such as chocolate and gummy bears. FDA regulations, that are yet to be written, may address this issue. Read a November 11, 2013 USA Today artice about e-cigarette advertising.

GASP's white paper documents the health concerns related to e-cigarette use and exposure, along with jurisdictions that regulate e-cigarettes by banning their use in public places and workplaces, banning their sales to minors and requiring licenses or permits to sell e-cigarettes. Our white paper is continually updated with new studies and jurisdictions passing laws to restrict e-cigarette use and sales.

New Jersey State Laws

On January 11, 2010, New Jersey Governor Corzine signed into law A4227/4228 which bans the use of
"electronic smoking devices" in public places and workplaces (amended the 2006 NJ Smokefree Air Act), and bans the sale of electronic smoking devieces to persons 18 years and younger. This is the first state law of its kind, in the nation, with the New Jersey Senate and Assembly both voting unanimously in favor of the law.

These 2010 amendments to the 2006 NJ Smokefree Air Act (NJSA 26:3D-57), and to the State law banning the sale of tobacco and electronic smoking devices to persons 18 years and younger (NJSA 2A:170-51.4), define “Electronic smoking device” as "an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe." The NJ Smokefree Air Act's definition of "smoking" (NJSA 26:3D-57) was also amended at that time to include smoke or vapor from electronic smoking devices: "Smoking means the burning of, inhaling from, exhaling the smoke from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked, or the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from an electronic smoking device."

NJ State law also bans outdoor use of electronic smoking devices if the smoke/vapor migrates, seeps or recirculates into an indoor public place or workplace where smoking is prohibited. NJAC 8:6-2.3(a).

The 2010 New Jersey state law restricting the use of electronic smoking devices was a culmination of local and county efforts. In October 2009, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution to ban the use of e-cigarettes in county buildings and at county parks. In November 23, 2009 the Paramus Board of Health passed their ordinance restricting e-cigarette use in public places and workplaces, effective December 1, 2009.

On August 7, 2013, the New Jersey Department of Health's Office on Local Public Health, in cooperation with the Department's Office on Tobacco Control, issued an Administrative Advisory concerning the prohibited use of electronic smoking devices (includes e-cigarettes) in indoor public places and work places, in New Jersey. This Advisory serves as a reminder that the 2006 NJ Smokefree Air Act was amended in 2010 to ban the use of electronic smoking devices in public places and workplaces where smoking is prohibited. Two handouts accompany the Administrative Advisory.

Federal Regulation

Read about the FDA's lawsuit against several e-cigarette companies on page 9 of the GASP White Paper. As of April 25, 2011, the FDA has decided not to appeal the federal court decision. Rather, the FDA will consider whether to issue a guidance or regulation on the "therapeutic" claims that some e-cigarette companies claim their products help smokers quit smoking cigarettes. Only FDA-approved smoking cessation products can make "therapeutic" claims as a smoking cessation aid.

New While New Jersey and major cities, such as New York City and Chicago, are banning the use of electronic cigarettes indoors, companies and workplaces in areas where there is currently no legislation are facing issues concerning the use of these devices during work hours. Read a January 15, 2014 Wall Street Journal article "E-Cigarettes Spark Dilemma for Employers".

The e-cigarette market has been growing. Read a May 30, 2013 article from Convenience Store Decisions about the market expansion and the likelihood of impending FDA regulations.

As of February 2011, The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a letter stating that e-cigarette use is banned on flights. Southwest Airlines also bans electronic cigarettes and smoking devices in its regulations regarding Portable Electronic Devices. See the page from Spirit, their April, 2010 magazine.

Read the FDA Consumer Health Information brochure about e-cigarettes which was issued July, 2009.

Last update: 2/7/14