Cities Are Flummoxed About How To Treat E-Cigarettes, And Many Are Issuing Temporary Bans To Figure Everything Out

Hermantown, Minn. became the latest municipality to issue a moratorium on e-cigarettes as
city council members voted in a six-month ban Wednesday.

They follows the likes of Seal Beach, Calif., Hastings, Mich., and Hennepin County, Minn. in restricting the sale of the vaporized tobacco product.

New York City could be next.

Multiple outlets reported last month that Mayor Bloomberg wants to treat them just like regular tobacco products, meaning they would pretty much be banned everywhere but your house.

The Hermantown city council said they were actually taking a page from Duluth, which just passed a law taxing and regulating e-cigs in the same manner as regular tobacco products.

Meanwhile, 41 states attorney generals have asked the FDA to issue a blanket ruling on how to treat e-cigs.

The central issue in all this remains just how unhealthy e-cigarettes are.

“…We decided to put a six-month moratorium in place to give us time to study what we ought to do,” Hermantown Mayor Wayne Boucher said according to the Duluth News Tribune. “We want to take the emotion out of this issue and simply weigh the facts.”

That’s almost exactly what they said in Seal Beach.

The city of Seal Beach needs time in order to explore this new trend and determine whether or not there’s any potential impacts,” said Jim Basham, the city’s Director of Community Development.

We’ve written about this issue previously, and the short answer is while we don’t yet know everything, a few facts have emerged. While e-cigs lack the tar and plant material that can lead to abnormal cell growth, nicotine itself remains a potent toxin. And they in no way reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease that come with regular cigs.

“E-cigarettes may not cause cancer, but that doesn’t make them safe,” our Jennifer Welsh said.

Also: e-cigarettes, or rather their charges, keep catching fire. They’ve nearly burnt down a Phoenix apartment , and the other day a child suffered burns after his mum’s charger exploded in their car.

Many states have already banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, and some already treat them as regular cigarettes in restricting their use indoors.

New York City Council is not expected to vote on legislation for another couple of months, the New York Post says.

While sell-side equity analysts remain largely bullish on e-cigarettes’ potential sales growth, most have included ramped up regulations in their bear cases.

If there’s one thing analysts and smokers themselves both can’t stand, it’s this kind of uncertainty.

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