BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
CLEARFIELD – Regulations being considered for specialty shops catering to e-cigarettes will tighten gaps in marketing, labeling, packaging and sanitation.
On Tuesday Davis Board of Health members approved holding a public hearing on the regulations developed over the past three months. The time and date of that hearing is yet to be decided. Once the hearing has been held, the board may approve the new regulations.
It was developed with feedback from shop owners, according to Davis Health Department Director Lewis Garrett, with an eye to not being so heavy-handed that businesses would suffer.
“The feedback we got was generally positive,” he said.
“The biggest issue we found is inconsistent labelng (of the amount of nicotine in the juice),” Garrett said. The problem is that some shops label the amount of nicotine in the product by percent, while others measure the number of miligrams per mililiter, Garrett said. Under the proposed regulation, a cap of 36 miligrams per mililiter would be established.
At the Aug. 13, board meeting, Ivy Melton Sales, emergency response coordinator for the department, told the board that when staff visited the eight shops catering to e-smokers in the county, they not only found inconsistencies with the way the amount of nicotine was labeled, but in some stores the label was handwritten or even missing.
Another new item in the proposed regulations will be the use of tamper-proof caps to keep children from getting into the mixture.
“Nicotine can be readily absorbed through the skin as some of our staff members found out when the samples of juice leaked in their purses,” Garrett said, and that can give a slight buzz.
Surfaces in the establishments will all have to be cleanable and meet sanitation requirements, “similar to food establishments,” Melton Sales told the board.
Smoking e-cigarettes in public places is just as illegal as smoking regular cigarettes, but the State Legislature allowed e-cigarette users to “sample” the variety of flavors of e-cigarettes being offered before buying.
“There’s no definition of sampling,” Garrett said. “In some cases that has lead to a move to establish vaping lounges.”
The Federal Drug Administration initially marketed e-cigarettes as a replacement for cigarettes because they often have lower nicotine content and don’t have other harmful substances found in cigarettes.
“Some use them as a smoking reduction tool,” Garrett said. “My concern is that people are lighting these up instead of cigarettes and are developing a nicotine addiction,” he said.
The fact that e-cigarettes are often colorful and appear “blingy” as Garrett put it, concerns him.
E-cigarettes, like cigarettes, are not to be marketed to youth, but e-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors like cotton candy and bubble gum which appeal to kids, he said.
Health board concerns:
• Inconsistencies in the way the amount of nicotine in the e-cigarette is labeled.
• The ability of children to open containers of e-cigarette liquid and absorb the nicotine through their skin.
• Though not marketed to children, the colorful packaging and flavors may attract kids anyway.
• Same thing goes for this bullet point