Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday filed proposed regulations that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, prohibit free product giveaways or sampling, and require the devices be kept out of the reach of customers at stores.
Currently there is no state law prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Massachusetts. Several cities and towns have approved their own local age restrictions.
The regulations would treat e-cigarettes like other tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco – including banning most sales of e-cigarettes except through face-to-face purchases and not through vending machines except in adults-only establishments.
The regulations would also define as an unfair or deceptive practice the sale of nicotine liquid or gel without the use of child-resistant packaging that meets federal standards.
“The regulations make it clear that in Massachusetts an e-cigarette is a cigarette when it comes to protecting our kids,” Healey said.
The regulations don’t extend all current smoking prohibitions to e-cigarettes, including the state’s workplace smoking ban. Healey said she supports legislation that would require users of e-cigarettes to abide by additional smoking regulations.
The metal or plastic battery-powered devices resemble cigarettes but heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale.
While e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic substances than burning traditional cigarettes, health officials warn they shouldn’t be considered harmless and say much more needs to be known about long-term effects of e-cigarette use.