Ban on E-Cig Sale to Minors in Effect March 31

Mar 16, 2011

Ban on Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors Goes Into Effect March 31


Spokane, Wash., March 16, 2011 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today that, effective March 31, 2011, the sale of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to minors will be banned in the city of Spokane, the city of Spokane Valley, and unincorporated Spokane County.

The bans are a result of a collaborative effort by SRHD and local jurisdictions to protect the youth in our community from the harmful effects of nicotine.

Important elements of the bans:

  • Electronic cigarettes and their component parts cannot be gifted, distributed, sold, transfered, marketed or offered to minors
  • No person under 18 may purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or obtain e-cigarettes or their component parts.
  • Violations of any provision are subject to monetary penalties
    • For vendors, it will be a class one (1) infraction with a penalty of $250, minors will face a class three (3) violation with a penalty of $50. Both fines are subject to court costs and fees
  • Enforcement will be carried out by local law enforcement agencies and SRHD

Electronic cigarettes, which are often made to look like regular cigarettes, are designed to deliver nicotine or other substances to a user in the form of a vapor that is inhaled. Neither the devices, nor their component liquids, are regulated by any government agency, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are also not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device.

In spring 2010, when sales to minors were still legal, but many vendors touted policies prohibiting these sales, the SRHD Tobacco Prevention and Control program conducted a special emphasis project to determine if minors were able to buy electronic cigarettes. Teen operatives, who were 15 and 16 years old, attempted to purchase electronic cigarettes from vendors in the community. Results showed that the teens were sold to in over 90 percent of the attempts. The project revealed that there was a significant problem with teens having access to the nicotine delivery devices.

In September 2010, SRHD’s Board of Health passed a resolution encouraging local jurisdictions to adopt ordinances banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. In February 2011, the city of Spokane, the city of Spokane Valley and unincorporated Spokane County,  all unanimously passed ordiances.

Other jurisdictions are now considering adopting similar ordinances and SRHD continues to work alongside them in support of this effort. For additional information, please contact the SRHD Tobacco Prevention and Control program at 324-1553. Information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community.