Opinion

Banning youths’ use of e-cigarettes is right move

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Hoping to close the door on a relatively new product that they fear will promote smoking among youth and pose other dangers, lawmakers in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky are moving to fill a void in regulation of electronic cigarettes.

This winter, legislatures in all three states have taken up bills that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18 — treating them the same way as tobacco products. The proposals make sense, in light of what is known and not known about these new alternatives to smoking tobacco.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are touted by their manufacturers, including several tobacco companies, as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. They do not contain tobacco and therefore do not have the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. They are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs, which typically contain nicotine, other often unknown ingredients and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate.

The presence of nicotine is a concern, obviously, because that addictive chemical is what drives smokers’ dependence on tobacco…

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