BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The City of Buffalo is taking a first step towards regulating stores that sell electronic cigarettes.
Common Council member Christopher Scanlon is asking the Permits and Inspections Department to require the stores be inspected. He also wants neighbors to be notified before the stores can be open.
E-cigarettes are a hotly debated item and only now are facing increased scrutiny by legal bodies and the scientific community. Lawmakers in Erie County are considering banning the devices in public places where traditional tobacco products are already barred. The devices have already been banned in public places in New York City and Chicago, including restaurants and bars.
Last month, the World Health Organization said the popular nicotine-vapor products, particularly the fruit, candy and alcohol-drink flavors, could serve as gateway addictions for children and adolescents.
It recommended governments forbid or keep to a minimum any advertising, promotion or sponsorship in a market that has mushroomed to $3 billion last year and now includes 466 different brands.
Though little is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes, scientists at Roswell Park say they found toxins in the vapor that are known carcinogens, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
Yet at the same time, the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society back the devices as a last resort to helping smokers quit, though they feel greater regulation is needed to keep them away from youth.
Attorneys general from more than two dozen states agree and want federal regulators to ban flavors and limit advertising to protect minors.
“Youth who have never smoked take up e-cigarettes, and former smokers may be enticed to come back to the tobacco marketplace. These are probably outcomes that are bad for public health,” said Dr. Mark Travers of Roswell Park.