State Laws Regarding Indoor Public Use, Retail Sales, and Prices of Electronic Cigarettes—United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, September 30, 2017

December 15, 2017 / Vol. 66 / No. 49

MMWR Introduction

Through authority granted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits e-cigarette sales to minors, free samples, and vending machine sales, except in adult-only facilities. States, localities, territories, and tribes maintain broad authority to adopt additional or more stringent requirements regarding tobacco product use, sales, marketing, and other topics. To understand the current e-cigarette policy landscape in the United States, CDC assessed state and territorial laws that: 1) prohibit e-cigarette use and conventional tobacco smoking indoors in restaurants, bars, and worksites; 2) require a retail license to sell e-cigarettes; 3) prohibit e-cigarette self-service displays; 4) establish 21 years as the minimum age of purchase for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes (“tobacco-21”); and 5) apply an excise tax to e-cigarettes.

State, local, and territorial strategies to reduce youth initiation of e-cigarettes and population exposure to e-cigarette aerosol, including educational initiatives, coupled with federal regulation of tobacco product manufacturing, labelling, and marketing, could help reduce the risks of these products on population health, especially among young people.

MMWR Highlights

State laws regarding electronic cigarettes

  • As of September 30, 2017, eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico prohibit indoor e-cigarette use and combustible cigarette smoking in work sites, restaurants, and bars.
  • As of September 30, 2017, 26 states restrict e-cigarette self-service displays (e.g., by requiring that products be kept behind the counter or in a locked box).
  • As of September 30, 2017, 16 states require a retail license to sell e-cigarettes.
  • As of September 30, 2017, five states, DC, and Guam restrict sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to people 21 years of age and older, also known as “tobacco-21” laws.
  • As of September 30, 2017, eight states, DC, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands tax e-cigarettes.
  • 16 states do not have any of the five assessed laws. One state (California) had all of the five assessed laws.