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Mass. bans e-cig sales to minors, standardizes rules

BOSTON — Massachusetts officially plans to join the majority of the United States in enacting a statewide ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced Monday that it completed new rules that were proposed earlier this year to standardize regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors across Massachusetts. Individual municipalities were previously left in charge of deciding their own rules on sales to minors.

Until now, minors could technically buy an e-cigarette in Massachusetts unless the city or town set regulations that stated otherwise. But according to the Boston Globe,152 municipalities in Massachusetts — including Boston — already enacted laws prohibiting sales to minors.

So for many e-cigarette vendors around the state, like David Mattuchio, owner of Vapor Station in Woburn, Mass., these new regulations will not make a difference to his business, as he said he operates in one of the many municipalities that already prohibited the sales.

The new rules simply extend previous regulations of traditional tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, which use heat to generate a vapor containing nicotine. The Attorney General’s office said the regulations also require nicotine liquid or gel be sold in “appropriate child resistant packaging that meets federal standards.”

Most of the regulations are effective in Massachusetts Sept. 25. The packaging requirement is effective March 15, 2016.

This official legislation in Massachusetts comes among increasing popularity of e-cigarettes around the USA, as well as growing concerns over their health effects. According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the percentage of high school students smoking cigarettes has decreased from 15.7% to 9.2% from 2013 to 2014, the percentage of high school students using vaporizers tripled in the same time period.

Although some critics see e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking, others argue that the devices have serious unknown health risks and are a gateway to nicotine addiction.

In a move that’s familiar to those who vape, the U.S. National Park Service is banning e-cigarettes in areas where regular cigarettes are banned. Newslook

At least 46 states prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes or vaping/alternative tobacco products to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of developing national regulations.

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