Ore. passes on e-cigarettes

In a national first, the state of Oregon has banned the sale of electronic cigarettes until consensus can be reached by the Food and Drug Administration on the product’s safety.

Two travel store chains, Pilot Travel Centers and TA Operating, are affected by the ban, both of which sell the NJOY brand of electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes are actually battery operated nicotine delivery devices constructed to mimic conventional cigarette. Each “cigarette” consists of a heating element and a replaceable plastic cartridge that contains various chemicals, including various concentrations of liquid nicotine. The heating element vaporizes the liquid, which the user inhales as if it were smoke.

Earlier in July, the FDA issued warnings to the public about health concerns surrounding the cigarettes. Test showed a wide variation in the amount of nicotine delivered by the devices and the presence of nitrosamines – a known carcinogen. However, the Oregon DOJ was already investigating the sale of electronic cigarettes before the FDA issued its warning.

In an announcement last week, Oregon Deputy Attourney General Mary Williams said companies selling electronic cigarettes would have to show competent and reliable scientific evidence to support their safety claims, if the FDA does not have jurisdiction on the matter. In addition, the companies must give the Attorney General advance notice that they intend to sell electronic cigarettes in Oregon, provide copies of all electronic cigarette advertising, and provide copies of the scientific studies they maintain substantiates their claims.

“When products threaten the health and safety of Oregonians, we will take action,” Ms. Williams said in a statement.”If companies want to sell electronic cigarettes to consumers, they have to be able to prove they are safe.”