Electronic cigarette shops are popping up all over the Inland Northwest and the product they're selling is largely unregulated but that may soon change as the FDA proposed new regulations on e-cigarettes Thursday morning.
The regulations would include:
- No sales to minors. (Already banned in Spokane)
- No more free samples in the stores.
- There must be warning labels saying the product contains nicotine and is addictive.
- The liquid must be tested and approved.
The owner of Lilac City Vapor E-Cigarettes, Brad Bellinger, agrees with those regulations.
"The accuracy of what's on the label can come into question. So if the FDA has oversight ... that's probably a good thing," Bellinger said.
People like Karin Lucas swear e-cigarettes are safer than ones filled with tobacco. Her entire family switched over.
"I see the difference everyday in my husband and my son. They're more active, they breath better, they sleep better," Lucas said.
But Kim Papich from the Spokane Regional Health District says the FDA has done limited studies on e-cigs. In those studies, there was more nicotine than the manufacturer claimed and chemicals similar to tobacco cigarettes.
"It can be poisonous, it can be fatal. They're seeing more instances of poisonings with children and animals that are ingesting the liquid nicotine," Papich said.
Those regulations will be set after a public comment period. Papich thinks more rules could be on the way.