What does South Carolina law say about vaping, e-cigarettes?

Vaping Unveiled

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Lawmakers and legal experts tell News 3 that in both Georgia and South Carolina, there aren’t many regulations in place regarding the use of vaping and e-cigarette products, although the laws in both states do make mention of them.

The Public Health Law Center, which keeps track of e-cigarette regulations across all 50 states, breaks down what laws and regulations are currently in place in Georgia and South Carolina.

“Are e-cigarettes in any section of the state’s statutes included in the definition of ‘Tobacco Products’?” is a question listed on state regulation pages for both states.

For Georgia and South Carolina, the answer is “no.”

News 3 took a closer look at e-cigarette regulations affecting the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

Below is a breakdown of South Carolina’s e-cigarette regulations. 

How does South Carolina define e-cigarettes?

South Carolina regulations outline a few related definitions to terms including “alternative nicotine product,” “electronic smoking device,” “e-liquid” and “vaping product.”

These terms are defined below.

  • Alternative nicotine product: “Any vaping product, whether or not it includes nicotine, including electronic smoking devices, that can be ingested into the body by chewing, smoking, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling or by any other means.” 
  • Electronic smoking device: “Any device that may be used to deliver any aerosolized or vaporized substance, including e-liquid, to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, vape pen, vapor product or e-hookah [including] any component, part or accessory of the device, and also includes any substance intended to be aerosolized or vaporized during the use of the device, whether or not the substance includes nicotine.”
  • E-liquid: “A substance that may or may not contain nicotine, is intended to be vaporized and inhaled using a vapor product and is a legal substance under the laws [South Carolina and] the United States.”
  • Vapor product: “A powered vaporizer that converts e-liquid to a vapor intended for inhalation.”

South Carolina’s smoke-free restrictions e-cigarette use

The state currently has in place two regulations regarding smoke-free restrictions.

E-cigarettes can’t be used in ambulances, and all school districts have to adopt, implement and enforce a written policy prohibiting the use of alternative nicotine products in and on school property, and at school-sponsored events.

FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Youth and e-cigarettes, vaping in South Carolina

Here’s what South Carolina law currently states regarding the use of e-cigarette and alternative nicotine products by minors:

  • Sale/distribution of alternative nicotine products to persons under age 18 is prohibited
  • Purchase/possession of alternative nicotine products by persons under age 18 is prohibited
  • Vending machine sales of alternative nicotine products are restricted to locations not accessible to minors, or the vending machine has to be locked and under the control of the owner
  • Internet or remote sales of alternative nicotine products require third-party age verification
  • Specialty alternative nicotine shops are required to ban entry from minors 

Additional South Carolina e-cigarette laws

  • There’s currently no retail license or permit required to sell e-cigarettes in South Carolina
  • There is no state excise or special tax places on the devices
  • Regarding e-cigarette packaging, e-liquid containers (except those that are sealed and not intended to be opened by consumers) must be child-resistant and be labeled appropriately with warnings as prescribed by federal regulation

South Carolina’s Clean Indoor Air Act has not yet been amended to prohibit the use of vapor products where smoking is prohibited, according to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA).

Certain municipalities have ordinances in place that ban vaping wherever smoking is prohibited, with the exception of some bars and restaurants. Those municipalities include Columbia, Denmark, Estill, Hartsville, Inman, West Pelzer and Yemassee.

The state does not have a Tobacco/Vapor 21 law that would make it illegal to sell tobacco or vapor products to anyone under 21 years old — and there is currently no ban on the sale of flavored vaping products.

READ MORE: What’s on the books in Georgia regarding e-cigarettes and vaping?

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