E-cigarette debate is smoking over lack of regulations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

E-cigarette debate is smoking over lack of regulations


Selling electronic cigarettes and the "juices" that go with them can bring in a lot of money for stores. But because there's no tobacco in the products, there's also no state or federal regulation. So just about anyone can buy them, and they can smoke them just about anywhere.

Kelly Stucker owns The Convenience Store and The Konnexion in Iowa City. She makes a lot of money from e-cig products

"I started selling them because I wanted to use them," said Stucker, "I wanted to use them in the airport. I wanted to use them in the bar."

E-cigs don't produce smoke, just vapor, so they aren't covered under Iowa's Smoke Free Air Act, put in place in 2008. Now many public spots which ban smoking, like the University of Iowa, are studying whether e-cigs should be included in the ban.

"Right now the issue is trying to find enough information about e-cigarettes," said Tom Moore, University of Iowa Spokesman. "Really, there's not enough hard data right now, not enough evidence to show whether they are potentially harmful or not."

There's currently no state or federal regulations regarding e-cigs, partially because there's no tobacco, just nicotine. Even minors can buy them because there's no age restriction. The Iowa Attorney General is among many asking the food and drug administration to change that.

"It's the new frontier in smoking and appropriate regulation," said Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General.

As for Stucker, she feels it's her responsibility to watch who she sells to.

"It's not my job to give drugs to minors and I consider this a drug," said Stucker.

Stucker actually used e-cigs to quit smoking. Since the liquids come with different amounts of nicotine, she was able to ween herself off nicotine.

The Iowa Attorney General will also speak with the state legislature. He's hoping they'll pass some legislation here in Iowa sometime next session.

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