| NEW YORK, April 24
NEW YORK, April 24 E-cigarette users breathed a
sigh of relief on Thursday after U.S. health officials proposed
new rules for the devices that would ban sales to minors, but
allow manufacturers to keep offering flavored nicotine liquids
beloved by so-called vapers.
Mcshalonic Martinez, 25, puffed on a caramel mochachino
flavored e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in lower Manhattan,
saying the device helped him kick his three-pack-a-day smoking
habit. He can't imagine going back to traditional cigarettes.
"When I smell a cigarette now, I get disgusted," Martinez
said. "These are all natural flavors, not the carcinogens that
are in cigarettes."
The proposal, representing the first U.S. effort to regulate
a burgeoning $2 billion e-cigarette industry, would ban device
and nicotine liquid sales to minors. It does not recommend
restricting flavored products or online sales and advertising,
which public health advocates say make the products more
attractive for children and teens.
The announcement comes on the heels of a New York City law
passed last year that banned e-cigarette usage anywhere that
traditional cigarettes are prohibited. It also bars businesses
from selling products to anyone younger than 21.
Peter Denholtz, co-founder of the Henley Vaporium in lower
Manhattan, said he too supported the minor ban, and applauded
the agency for leaving flavors off the chopping block.
"It would have killed one of the most important aspects of
getting people to quit smoking," Denholtz said. "It probably
would have put us out of business."
E-cigarette advocates say they are a safer alternative to
conventional cigarettes, as they do not produce lung-destroying
tar. But there is so far little data about their long-term
Nicholas Goldman, 40, inquired about a cinnamon variety of
the more than 100 liquids sold at the shop, and said all the
different types of flavors are what keep him vaping.
When asked if he would continue using e-cigarettes if
flavors were banned, he said: "Probably not. But I wouldn't be
back on regular cigarettes. I've got my taste buds back, I've
got my health back, and my clothes don't smell."
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Michele Gershberg)