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State enact e-cigarette laws in absence of federal rules; may affect future regulations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In a rush to keep electronic cigarettes out of children’s hands while the federal government creeps forward with a proposed national ban for minors, experts say that many states are passing laws that could mean fewer restrictions on the nicotine devices later.

Lawmakers last month made Missouri the 41st state to outlaw selling e-cigarettes to minors. Age restrictions have wide support, but Gov. Jay Nixon and public health advocates opposed a piece of the legislation that prevents tobacco taxes or regulations from being imposed on the electronic devices, which heat liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapour.

E-cigarette makers have been in a tug-of-war with state and federal governments since the battery-powered devices first were sold in the U.S. in 2007.