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E-Cig Regulations

E-Cig Regulations

E-Cig Regulations

As the popularity of electronic cigarettes has grown in recent years, many who use and market them have touted their vast differences from traditional cigarettes. In the absence of federal regulations, however, various local and state governments refuse to recognize a difference. A primary point of contention has been whether e-cigs or “vaping” , should be allowed in areas that are by law, smoke-free. These places include any workplaces, restaurants, bars, and public transportation around the country.

In many cases, e-cigs are associated with all other types of smoking when it comes to prohibition. Some lawmakers have created explicit bans on e-cigs in certain areas, while others have moved to explicitly allow them. In Santa Monica, California, for example, an ordinance permits the sale and use of e-cigs at two designated businesses. In Baltimore, Maryland, restaurants, bars, video lottery centers, and retail stores can sell e-cigs. But 22 states and the District of Columbia have introduced bills that would tax electronic cigarettes in 2015 alone. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the rules and regulations for e-cigs in six states that have taken action, based on information from the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, LicenseToVape.com, and local news sources. 


Where you can vape: In California, electronic cigarettes are included in smoking prohibitions in public spaces at workplaces, public transportation, retail food facilities, and outdoor events such as fairs. However, most smoking bans are decided locally. 

Meanwhile, several cities and counties in California have explicitly permitted the use of e-cigs. These include:

Los Angeles – retail e-cigs stores and theatrical production sites.

Marin County – apartment units and multi-unit residences.

San Diego – designated areas at Petco Park and Qualcomm Stadium, as well as e-cigs lounges and shops.

Santa Monica – two specific e-cig lounges.

Age limit: E-cigs can't be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Pending legislation would raise the state smoking age to 21.

Taxes: California does not currently tax e-cigs, but several bills have recommended taxing them as tobacco products.

Pending legislation: A bill known as SB 140 made its way through the legislature earlier this year, introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco.) This bill would have included e-cigs in tobacco prohibition laws and prohibited retailers from selling them to minors. But Sen. Leno withdrew the bill in June after the addition of several amendments that he argued left it “toothless.” 

Several other bills were recently passed by the state Senate, however. They would ban e-cigs from restaurants, movie theaters, and other public places.


Where you can vape: In Colorado, where marijuana is now legal to buy, sell and use, the law defines e-cigs as tobacco products. This means they're prohibited from use at schools, unless the user has an FDA-approved smoke cessation device. Only the city of Louisville, Colorado expressly permits the sale of e-cigs at e-cig retailers. Some municipalities prohibit e-cig use, however. The City of Fort Collins implemented an ordinance last summer that expanded its non-smoking areas and explicitly included e-cigs. Commerce City has also considered a ban on e-cigs.

Age limit: E-cigs can't be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

Taxes: There is no tax on e-cigs in Colorado other than sales tax.

Pending legislation: Marijuana activists are working with some lawmakers in Denver to allow the use of weed in vaporizers.

District of Columbia

Where you can vape: Smoking indoors is banned in D.C., and this includes e-cigs. But there is much debate over whether e-cigs should be allowed on public transportation that routes to and from parts of D.C. and neighboring Virginia and Maryland. 

Age limit: There is no current age limit.

Taxes: A controversial 67 percent tax on e-cigs will go into effect on October 1

Pending legislation: Legislation is pending to ban the sale of e-cigs to people under the age of 18.

New York

Where you can vape: In New York, e-cigs can be sold at designated retail stores, but are prohibited from being used wherever cigarettes are banned, including within 100 feet of schools and other public buildings. Cities are permitted to enact their own e-cig laws as well.

Age limit: E-cigs can't be sold to anyone under the age of 18. New York City lawmakers have considered raising the age of legal purchase to 21.

Taxes: In 2013, the state failed to pass a bill that would have imposed a 75 percent tax on the sale of e-cigs.

Pending legislation: New York City has considered banning flavored e-cigs, but this hasn't yet taken place.

North Carolina


Where you can vape: Vaping is generally permitted indoors in North Carolina, but local ordinances may vary. E-cigs aren't allowed in prisons. 

Age limit: E-cigs can't be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

Taxes: North Carolina has a 5 percent tax on the liquid nicotine used in e-cigs.

Pending legislation: There is no major active e-cig legislation in North Carolina.


Where you can vape: Oregon has a unique approach to e-cigs. State employees are prohibited from using any tobacco products, including e-cigs, in state agency buildings, and on state grounds. Additionally, in 2010, the Oregon Department of Justice permanently booted Florida-based e-cigs retailer Smoking Eveywhere Inc. from the state. The company had to pay more than $95,000 in a settlement, according to the DOJ. The state also stopped two other retailers from selling e-cigs, and in May, the state banned the use of e-cigs from workplaces, restaurants, bars, and other indoor public places, effective January 1, 2016

Age limit: E-cigs can't be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

Taxes: A proposal to tax e-cigs at 81 percent recently failed. 

Pending legislation: There is no major active e-cig legislation in Oregon.