The growing popularity of smokeless electronic cigarettes has Minnesota lawmakers weighing whether they should be regulated in similar fashion to traditional tobacco products.
For years, the University of Minnesota has been doing research on tobacco and tobacco-related products. The dangers of the emerging market of electronic cigarettes is still widely unknown.
Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.
More smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes as a less-expensive and less-regulated way to get their nicotine. But they’re still so new, governments and businesses are grappling with how to deal with them. E-cigarettes have a battery-powered heating element that produces vapor rather than smoke. They’re not restricted under Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act, but many businesses – including the Minnesota Twins – are telling customers to put them away.
It’s been a month since the state’s cigarette sales tax increased by more than a dollar and-a-half a pack. That’s brought the total tax on cigarettes to more than $2.80 per pack.