The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of regulating e-cigarettes like their tobacco counterparts. The proposed rules would ban anyone 18 and under from purchasing the smoking devices. But for one local vapor shop, the possible changes aren't a concern in regard to profits.
"I just always assumed you had to be eighteen or older, I mean all the bottles say you must be eighteen," said Elite Vapor Shop owner Gianni Raines.
Raines doesn't sell to minors at his store in northwest Fresno. But that doesn't mean teens don't try to get in. Raines isn't the only one who's seeing the high demand in youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports e-cig usage doubled among middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012.
"It's something new and they want to know what it is," said Raines.
Little bottles contain liquid nicotine you drop into battery powered devices. The CDC says poison center calls have skyrocketed because of the liquid nicotine. More than half of those calls involve young children drinking the liquid by accident.
"Overall speaking you don't need those type of drugs in your body pushing your brain system to respond more rapidly," said Dr. William Ebbeling.
The big push for e-cig advertising comes from the idea they're healthier than tobacco based cigarettes. But long term effects of the e-cigs haven't been studied. One of the main reasons why the FDA is working to impose the regulations.
"What is the effect? If you're putting it into your body and you don't know the effect because it hasn't been studied, it's a problem," said Dr. Ebbeling.
The public, the electronic cigarette industry and anyone else wanting to comment on the proposal have 75 days to contact the FDA. Once those comments are reviewed the FDA, they'll make a final decision about restricting use to minors.
Chris Battenschlag, the owner of Cyber Liquids released the following statement to Action News:
The regulation that the FDA proposed was for the most part, fair and good for the industry and its consumers.
At Cyber Liquids we have always supported prohibiting sales to minors. We are for safety in manufacturing and full product disclosure. We encourage studies that evaluate the short and long term risks and benefits of using electronic cigarettes over a normal tobacco cigarette. We believe as more studies are done, we will discover and have factual evidence supporting electronic cigarette usage as a safer alternative to smoking.
Also, by discovering any possible health risks and what ingredients are causing those health risk, manufacturers will be able to make any changes they can to reduce or eliminate those adverse health risks. The more information manufactures have the better the products will become leading to an overall improvement in the consumer experience.