Lawmakers Targeting Electronic Cigarettes

As their popularity soars in convenience stores, e-cigs are becoming the target of new smoking bans and tax regulations.

By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.

Once speculated to be a passing fad, e-cigarettes are increasing in sales and popularity and pushing their way toward becoming a mainstream product. Celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Britney Spears have been spotted “vaping,” attracting further public attention to the e-cig trend. As the trend takes hold, government regulators at both the local and federal levels are lying in the weeds waiting to pounce on the good times.

The market for e-cigarettes is expected to quadruple between now and mid-2014, according to Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. “In 2010 there were 750,000 units sold and that jumped to 2.5 million units sold in 2011. In the U.S., close to 20 million cartridges and about 10 million disposables are sold on a weekly basis.”

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated 2.7% of U.S. adults had tried e-cigarettes by 2010, up from 0.6% a year earlier. Annual sales of e-cigarettes in the U.S. have grown to between $250 million and $500 million since arriving from China five years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

If e-cigs aren’t lighting up across bars and restaurants near you, it could have to do with your location—but rest assured they’re on the way. Research shows the product appears to be catching on fastest in the South, with 33% of e-cigarette users living in Southern states compared to 19% of e-cigarette users living in Northeast states, according to ECH Research in conjunction with Opinionnaire, June 2011.

There is even a World Vaping Day—March 22—to celebrate the success of the electronic cigarette, and to encourage new smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit smoking to switch to e-cigs.

C-Stores Finding Room
As the product grows toward the mainstream, c-stores are getting in on the action.

Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes in Canastota, N.Y. began offering e-cigs when they were first introduced. “These were the $60 kits and, frankly, they did not do very well,” said Matthew Paduano, vice president of category management at Nice N Easy. “Over the past several years we have brought in some of the less expensive kits as well as the disposables.”

Nice N Easy now stocks the NJOY brand, which is carried by its wholesaler. “I am worried about some of the other brands out in the market because I don’t know where they are made, and because of concern over what happens if one of those injures a customer in any way,” Paduano said, adding that he looks to his wholesaler to supply reputable brands that he can trust.

Demand for e-cigs in Nice N Easy’s markets is growing slowly, but consistently. “I think these items are still foreign to many customers even though there has been press and media around them. There is no clear No. 1 brand out there in our market right now, but there are a lot of choices,” Paduano said. “I expect that as the cost comes down further, more customers will try them. This is a niche item that will gain acceptance slowly, but will not be replacing real tobacco any time in the foreseeable future.”

Couche-Tard became the first Canadian c-store chain to push electronic tobacco when it rolled out the blu e-cigarette brand, which it now offers in more than 500 stores in Quebec. It plans to roll out the tobacco line to its other stores across Canada later in 2012. Couche-Tard is selling blu’s zero-nicotine disposable e-cigarettes—a budget-friendly alternative to traditional cigarettes, with one disposable equaling approximately 20-30 cigarettes.

In the U.S., Couche-Tard’s Circle K Stores Inc. is offering FIN e-cigarettes in each of the chain’s eight regions. In addition to carrying the disposable FIN e-cigarettes, which are equivalent to more than two packs of traditional cigarettes, Circle K stores are also offering rechargeable FIN accessories.

Safe Debate
Because e-cigarettes deliver nicotine without the tar and 5,300 other chemicals and carcinogens found in regular cigarettes, they are often reported to be safer. The American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) has defended the product.

“If we get all tobacco smokers to switch from regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, we would eventually reduce the U.S. death toll from more than 400,000 a year to less than 4,000, maybe as low as 400,” said Joel L. Nitzkin, chairman of the AAPHP’s Tobacco Control Task Force. “AAPHP favors a permissive approach to e-cigarettes because the possibility exists to save the lives of four million of the eight million current adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness over the next 20 years.”

Nitzkin also noted that cigarette smokers could reduce their risk of future tobacco-related death by 99.9% or better by switching to a nicotine-only delivery product like e-cigarettes.

While c-store retailers report it’s too soon to determine if smokers are gravitating toward e-cigs for health reasons, ECH Research in conjunction with Opinionnaire found in its June 2011 survey of 200 respondents from 70,000 households that 62% of e-cigarette smokers reported they have stopped smoking traditional cigarettes or smoke fewer cigarettes since starting e-cigarettes.

Barriers to Success
As with other forms of cigarettes, anti-smoking groups are arguing that flavored e-cigarettes could attract teens that could use the device as a gateway into cigarette smoking. As a result, state lawmakers are cracking down on the devices with proposals that would ban everything from the purchase of the devices to vaping in public. Among the measures that have been recently proposed include:

Hawaii. Lawmakers in Hawaii had debated e-cigarette bill, SB2233, which aimed to limit sales of e-cigs to minors and to tax e-cigs at the same price as traditional cigarettes (70%). But after receiving more than 1,000 written submissions, many from e-cigarette users opposing the measure, the Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee voted to delete language that would require the 70% tax before passing the bill. Meanwhile the main portion of the bill, restricting sales of e-cigarettes to minors, remains intact.

Vermont. Vermont State Rep. Bill Frank introduced a bill that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18 years of age and ban the purchase, sales and delivery of e-cigarettes via the Internet, phone and mail order, with penalties for each violation of up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 criminal fine and a $5,000 civil fine. In March, however, the Vermont Human Services Committee announced they would be removing the section of H. 747 that would have banned sales of e-cigarettes through the Internet, phone and mail order.

Utah. A bill has been passed by the Utah state legislature, which adds the use of electronic cigarettes to the definition of smoking in the Utah Clean Indoor Air Act, which before had banned only “igniting tobacco.” The bill exempts e-cigarette shops from the ban for five years. After passing the House and Senate, it has gone to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert who is expected to sign it into law.

New Jersey. Like cities Seattle and Boston, New Jersey already has banned e-cigarette smoking in public and is also considering a law that would ban smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in cars if children 16 or under are present. A violation would carry a $100 fine.

Alabama. The Alabama Smoke-free Air Amendment of 2012 would ban the use of e-cigarettes in any public place where smoking is prohibited.

Wisconsin. A bill seeks to specify the term “smoking” in an effort to exempt electronic cigarettes from the state’s indoor smoking ban. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Glenn Grothman, is currently seeking co-sponsorship. There is an identical bill that was introduced in the Wisconsin House. Groups such as the American Lung Association are contacting legislators in opposition of the bill.



  1. Wow, that is an excellent summary of the current state of e-cigarettes and the various legislation running around.  Since I’ve been covering e-cigarettes in the past year, I’ve seen a steady upward climb in acceptance and availability of the devices.

  2. Ghyslain ARMAND says:

    I agree with Steve, excellent summary. Here in France people are not that open yet but it’s getting more popular, slowly slowly.

  3. One correction: A committee in the Alabama Senate voted unanimously to remove e-cigarettes from the proposed smoke-free air law about a month ago.

  4. sbagan20 says:

    The electronic cigarette has personally benefited me and all i have to say is DEA go away. No tar, No ash, plus i can feel a difference because i breath almost twice as good as before i quit. Thanks for the stellar post!

  5.  The electronic cigarette has personally benefited me and all i have to
    say is DEA go away. No tar, No ash, plus i can feel a difference because
    i breath almost twice as good as before i quit. Thanks for the stellar

  6. E-cigs were invented BECAUSE of the bans. They are getting a free ride on the back of big pharma, who gave millions to many tax exempt political action committees (charities?) to hire lobbyists for these bans. They compete with Chantix, thereby undermining the entire purpose of smoking bans, the bottom line of Pfizer.

  7. Gotsteam says:

    Stop the bans NOW. Enough said.

  8. Veseyenator says:

    Electronic cigarettes do work! I got mine from The best ecigs out there hands

  9. Make the switch.  Electronic Cigarettes work!

  10. At least they presented electronic cigarette from different point of view…this is rare this days…

  11. They will help you get the thing that keeps you addicted to smoking which is nicotine without actually inhaling any smoke or other health hazardous chemicals! But electronic cigarettes, such as normal cigarettes, can ‘burn out’ at one point.

  12. Jeffbrown140 says:

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  14. I am a huge fan of the electronic cigarettes. When you inhale you do not get the heavy tobacco affect yet you feel it. No tar, no ash, no odor! That is the way i look at this neat little gadget 😀 offers coupons!

  15. My only gripe with this article is it’s use of the term “electronic tobacco”.  HUGE misnomer.  There is no tobacco in the liquid which is vaporized within an electronic cigarette.  If you want to know the fact about e-cigs, all the way down to the smallest details, go to   Let’s not start calling things what they are not.  🙂

  16. They are playing out the same playbook they used against smokeless tobacco. It’s all about the money. We KNOW what tobacco smoke contains… poisons! Hypocrisy.

    Look if you’re going to get an ecig, my advice is to get a quality one and don’t go cheap. You’ll love them, but you may go through 2 or 3 before you find the right one.

    I’ve been using Green Smoke for 3 years now. Love ’em!

  17. You would be hard pressed to find many negative comments from USERS of electronic cigarettes. Here in the UK there are professional, stringent setups like Shame these articles aren’t written by actual USERS.

  18. Jerryadams84 says:

    I personally got my e-cig from V2 (, and they worked great for me. Over the course of 8 months, I’m now down to 0 nic and hardly have to use my e-cig altogether! 

  19. David fleck says:

    These laws banning E cigs are ridiculous, They are healthier  than regular tobacco. There is no smell or second hand smoke. Its just that the Government is in big tobacco’s pocket. You will go through several brands before you find the right one for you because just like cigarettes they all have different tastes to them. If you are looking for a variety go here  We have a large variety of brands.

  20.  The electronic cigarette is a great way to kick the habit of smoking if you seriously want to quit in the first place. I noticed it helps your throat and gave me that drive to keep relying on the e cigarette until i had my nicotine levels managed. I’m now at 0mg (no nicotine) and have a better functioning life i guess you could say because of this invention. Check out for some coupons from thesafecig!

  21. The electronic cigarette is a great way to kick the habit of smoking if
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  22. The e cigarette rules! No tar, no ash, no odor!!! What could be better if you are someone looking to quit regular cigarettes? For me it has helped with the craving to pick up a cigarette and has ultimately left my throat, blood pressure, and lungs thanking me after 15 years as a heavy smoker. The best brand to buy would be The Safe Cig which i run a review of and offer free coupons and Free U.S. Shipping!

  23. I have been a fan of the electronic cigarette for close to a year! When you vape you are not taking in tar, ash, or any chemicals from traditional tobacco. That is why the electronic cigarette has been so beneficial to me… If you are someone who has smoked cigarettes for quite some i time and want to really knuckle down and quit, then i highly recommend you at least try the ecig. For more information and coupons visit Appealing Smokes @

  24. The electronic cigarette is totally interswithable. If you are someone who wants to quit smoking then heck why not give it a try. I have been vaping for a few years now and the only thing i ever seem to mention to people is the fact that there is NO tar, NO ash, and NO chemicals. Take away the cigarette and you have a much safer product producing water vapor somewhat the same idea of a inhaler without the medication etc. If you want to quit smoking cigarettes i recommend you at least give the e cig a shot! It has worked for myself and family as well as countless others i have come to know. I run a review of the Micro e cigarette which i throw coupons out occasionally! Come check us out.

  25. Mollie says:

    I started smoking when i was 14 years old. I have watched all my grandparents die from smoking at a very young age. Yet i am 34 and still smoking. My boyfriend and his brother quit on apollo ecigs so i thought i would give it a try. They taste great! I am 3 weeks smoke free. I just started a new professional job and didnt want to be the girl who smells like smoke – not to mention i am starting to see the affects of smoking on my appearance. My 7 year old son was begging me to quit and honestly i was sick and tired of cigarettes controlling my day. I can go anywhere and smoke it and i have referred apollo to several friends who have now quit smoking too! It has changed my life and i look forward to being able to hike again and enjoy nature! Thank you Apollo for saving me from a miserable and always feeling sick life! You are doing wonders in peoples lives and you just keep coming out new and improved products! and i have lost weight! woohoo!”

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  26. Mendino says:

    Great article. I bought my first e-cig in Canada frmo Couche Tard a cpl weeks ago and last week I bought my first rechargable one from and couldnt be happier. It sure feel better than trying to quit with the nicorette inhaler.

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