Users of e-cigarettes and critics of the devices weighed in today Thursday on proposed state regulations. The Massachusetts Attorney General wants to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, prohibit free product giveaways or sampling and require childproof packaging.
Maureen Buzby, an antitobacco advocate, testified in favor of the regulations. She painted a disturbing picture of an unscrupulous industry trying to lure children to use the nicotine vaporizing devices.
"One store was proudly telling me about "cloud parties" they were hosting, where their customers could come in and have competitions for making bigger and better clouds from their e-cigarettes," she said.
Carl Phillips, of the group Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives, painted a different picture, of store owners as guides, who help adults quit smoking regular cigarettes. Phillips is urging the attorney general's office to remove the prohibition on sampling.
"The higher quality e-cigarettes can be a bit complicated to use," he said. "It requires mentoring and trial and error to find the right hardware and liquid that works for someone. A useful approach to this is to try the products in a vape store before purchasing."
The Attorney General's office can now amend the proposed regulations based on the public feedback. Final regulations are expected this spring.