Lawmakers fret over lack of regulation, age requirement for e-cigarettes

Posted at 11:34 PM, Nov 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-02 13:38:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity in the recent years.

"I still get the nicotine--for when the craving kicks in," Casey Smith, who smokes e-cigarettes, said.

Some say it's their alternative to traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are battery-powered and many look like a typical cigarette. Users inhale vapor instead of smoke and there's no smell. They can be smoked indoors; at the library, work, or at a bar. Church, even.

Lawmakers told CBS 6 there's no regulation in Virginia. State Delegate Manoli Loupassi said he believes there hasn't been enough study to the health effects of it.

According to published reports, there are no age requirements for buying e-cigarettes in Virginia. Just over a month ago 40 attorneys general urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate these products. Virginia General Attorney, and gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli was not one of them.

A spokesman from the office said the Attorney General supports efforts to keep harmful products out of minor's hands, but said they have a strict policy of not signing on to letters of support for federal regulations that aren't finalized.

Others have concerns with how the product is advertised, and smoking has been again glamorized.

"You can see an episode of a cartoon like the Simpsons and you can see ads for e-cigarettes that look like a real cigarette," said Richard Foster, spokesman for Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.