A review of the current geographic distribution of and debate surrounding electronic cigarette clean air regulations in the United States

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Abstract

In this article, we present the results of a systematic review of state, county, and municipal restrictions on the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in public spaces within the United States, alongside an overview of the current legal landscape. The lack of federal guidance leaves lower-level jurisdictions to debate the merits of restrictions on use in public spaces without sufficient scientific research. As we show through a geographic assessment of restrictions, this has resulted in an inconsistent patchwork of e-cigarette use bans across the United States of varying degrees of coverage. Bans have emerged over time in a manner that suggests a “bottom up” diffusion of e-cigarette clean air policies. Ultimately, the lack of clinical and scientific knowledge on the risks and potential harm reduction benefits has led to precautionary policymaking, which often lacks grounding in empirical evidence and results in spatially uneven diffusion of policy.

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