Reston Bans Use of E-Cigarettes

It becomes the first town in Washington to do so, in response to the rise in use among teenagers.

By: Melissa Romero

Recent reports have found that the use of electronic cigarettes is on the rise, but these days you won’t find any of them in Reston.

In late June, Reston became the first town in Washington to address the use of e-cigarettes when the Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to ban them from public spaces. The issue arose after residents expressed their discomfort and confusion with the use of e-cigarettes at the local pool, according to Kirsten Carr, director of communication with Reston Association Board of Directors.

“People didn’t quite understand the vapors,” Carr told Fox5 in a recent interview. “They didn’t know whether or not they were real cigarettes.” 

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products designed to look like real cigarettes. The devices turn nicotine and other chemicals and flavorings into a vapor.

The products are not currently regulated by the FDA, although the agency has been meeting with the e-cigarette industry in the last few weeks and is expected to propose regulations in October, according to the Wall Street Journal. While research on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes is minimal, a recent study published in the Lancet found that use of e-cigarettes proved to be just as successful as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit.

Still, many remain concerned with the increased use of e-cigarettes, especially among teenagers. A CDC report published last week found that e-cigarette use doubled among middle and high school students in just one year, from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012. It’s also doubled among adults, from 10 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2011.

“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

Reston may be the only town in Washington to ban e-cigarettes so far, but it’s not alone in the rest of the country. Duluth, Minnesota, recently banned them in places where traditional cigarette smoking is currently banned. Only three states—Utah, New Jersey, and North Dakota—have banned their use entirely, while 20 states have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.