These days everyone’s focused on federal vaping regulations, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banning the sale of e-cigarettes and related products to minors. E-cigarettes and ejuices are also very much subject to state, county, and city regulations, but these regulations vary greatly.
Understanding the vaping laws in your home state and city is highly recommended if you’re ditching analog tobacco products in favor of their electronic counterparts. You’ll also need to know local regulations whenever you travel out of town.
A solid knowledge of vape laws can save you plenty of headaches and possibly even fines or court costs. Here are some important vaping regulations to keep in mind:
Buying and Selling Vape Products
How a state defines e-cigarettes determines whether or not it’s treated the same as smoking.
Some states define e-cigarettes as “alternative nicotine products.” E-cigarettes aren’t taxed like cigarettes in these states, which include:
Alabama (sale prohibited to anyone under 19)
Louisiana (which also distinguishes e-cigarettes and vaporizers)
Other states define e-cigarettes and electronic smoking devices, such as Hawaii, Idaho, Arkansas, and California. All of these states prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and related products to those under the age of 18, with the exception of California, where the legal age is 21.
In states where e-cigarettes are defined, they’re typically taxed similar to traditional cigarettes. Colorado differs from the many states who define e-cigarettes and similar products. Vaping products are considered tobacco products in the Centennial State.
States like Oregon have cracked down specifically on vape advertising, banning brands from being sold that make claims without official scientific backing. Meanwhile Texas considers the sale of even e-cigarette components to be criminal negligence.
Where You Can and Can’t Vape
Vaping on school grounds (even universities), government property, and indoors in public places is generally banned across the U.S., although there are still places left where it’s allowed.
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont all have statewide vaping bans that treat vaping exactly like smoking. This means you can only vape in designated smoking areas, even if vaping isn’t specifically mentioned on the signs.
Those who violate the regulations in California would be subject to $100, $200, or $500 fines.
In most other states, each locality determines its own rules, so you need to look up the laws for your specific city to be absolutely safe. And as we’ve stated repeatedly, common courtesy goes a long way in keeping vapers safe.
And of course, there’s pending vape legislation in several states across the U.S.
For example, pending legislation in New York includes a 95 percent wholesale tax on e-cigarette sales, as well as legislation that requires the state’s e-cig vendors to obtain tobacco retail licenses to sell vaping products.
Other states with pending legislation require all e-cigarette liquids are sold in special packaging. The Illinois Department of Public Health would establish packaging standards and ban the sale of vaping products in the state until regulations are enforced. Oregon is waiting on further FDA studies.
Another example of state-specific pending legislation includes banning indoor vaping in Arkansas. California is also considering legislation that would ban e-cigarette use within 20 feet of any public building or a state-owned vehicle.
We’re currently toward the end of a presidential election cycle, so expect many of these laws to change as early as next year while November’s ballots are tallied. As the FDA continues gathering information and setting rules, more legislation is sure to follow.
The next few years are going to determine the direction and sustainability of the vape industry. All of us dedicated vapers who switched from smoking cigarettes to smell and feel better are going to face an uphill battle.
We’ll be keeping an eye on all things vape this election season and beyond, so stay tuned to the Vape Chemist blog to keep up-to-date on all the important happenings in the vape industry.