Roadblocks ahead for E-Cig aficionados

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, are becoming quite popular.

Use of electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, also known as E-Cigarettes or E-Cigs, are becoming quite popular.

E-Cigs are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking. E-Cig users are not even smoking, they are "vaping". One E-Cig shop owner puts it like this.

"A personal vaporizer is a device that vaporizes E-liquid and what I mean by that is it turns the purple lean glycol, vegetable glycerin, candy flavoring and pharmaceutical grade nicotine into a vapor, a water vapor,â?? James Cox, former cigarette smoker, said.

James Cox opened Premier Vapors in East Alton, Illinois in August of 2013 -- just two months after he had his last cigarette. Cox was a smoker for 29 years.

"June 23rd of last year, it's been ten months, yeah, completely free, none, no cigarettes, not even a cheat, not a puff, they are horrible," Cox said with a laugh.

Cox says E-Cigs helped his family quit cigarettes. He hopes Premier Vapors will help others as well.

"My parents, they smoked for fifty years, my mom and dad are completely smoke free. They don't even cheat -- my son, my daughter smoke free, so I mean it works, it really works," Cox said.

His daughter, Rachel, agrees.

"As soon as I got it in my hand, I put my carton of cigarettes away. I had just actually bought a carton of cigarettes as soon as he gave me one and I didn't touch the carton of cigarettes at all, I just threw them in my glove box and started using the E-Cig,â?? Rachel Cox, daughter of James Cox, said.

Rachel works part time at Premier Vapors. She is 20 years old, but pointed out she will be 21 soon. She shared she was 13 when she smoked her first cigarette.

A fact her father did not know.

â??My heart dropped when she said that, I had no idea,â?? Cox said.

Cox also says they hope their personal testimonies will give people hope that they, too, can quit.

"I feel better. I feel a lot better, smoke free for 10 months. My family, we've got a combined 250 years of smoking between my children, my parents, me smoke free so I mean the proof is in the pudding," Cox said. But that hope might be a distant memory soon.

A proposal to regulate electronic cigarettes

House Bill 5689 is currently making its way through Springfield. It was introduced in mid-February 2014. It has already passed the Illinois House and is currently in the Senate.

The bill wants to child proof E-Cigarette liquids.

However, those against the bill say this will shut down businesses like Premier Vapors while standards are discussed.

The bill's sponsor says that is not true.

"E-liquids will continue to be available in their present form until the department is able to promegate rules and then implement them," Illinois Representative Robyn Gabel (D) 18th District, said.

Representative Gabel says her bill is needed and goes on to reference a Centers for Disease Control report published earlier in April. The report says the number of calls to poison control concerning E-Cigarettes have risen dramatically.

Cox says child-proofing E-liquids is a no-brainer. He also says there should be regulations, but E-Cig users should be more responsible and there should be stricter actions taken against them.

Representative Gabel is not the only lawmaker who wants E-Cigs to be looked at more closely. Senator Richard â??Dickâ?? Durbin is raising questions about how E-Cig companies are marketing them.

A recent investigation states companies are aiming their products at younger generations by the many different flavors offered and lack of regulations are such as the age limit of who E-Cigs can be sold to.

FDA announcement

Early Thursday, April 24, the FDA released a statement saying they are proposing to extend its authority of tobacco related products such as E-Cigs, cigars, pipe tobacco, and other related products.

The proposal will be available for public comment for 75 days. The FDA is encouraging people to contact them if they have anything to say about them regulating other tobacco products.

People can begin to share their comments with the FDA on Friday, April 25. (We will add the link to this story when it goes live.)

James Cox just wants E-Cigs to be given a chance.