While fingerprint scans are common as dirt when it comes to unlocking your smartphone or computer, this could become a standard on vaping devices. This is in any case what the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is pushing for when it comes to e-cigarette security. With this system, you’d need to unlock your device by scanning your fingerprint to be able to fire it up.
As with every innovative idea, not everyone agrees it is actually a good idea. Despite the disapproval of some vaping enthusiasts, biometric protection on e-cigs could become the norm. In fact, it could become a mandatory requirement.
The FDA wants electronic cigarettes to feature this technology to avoid them being used by users other than the owner. The measure is intended to protect children, providing a sure-fire locking mechanism so kids cannot take a drag off their parent’s e-cig, which is illegal for minors.
Biometric vaping, from prototype to mass production
While this new technological development may seem futuristic, these security measures were planned for in legal texts. FDA regulatory documentation covered the issue from its earliest drafts, planning for “usage of biometric security measures”.
While the measure, defined in amendment Cole-Bishop, was expected in 2007 but never came into force, it may be revived by the FDA. The public health authority wants to extend this security feature to all vaping devices, which would render many of the current models illegal.
As expected, pro-vaping activists see this as yet another attack on the industry and culture of vaping. The FDA does not see vaping in a favourable light, putting it in the same category as cigarettes, viewed as a gateway to traditional tobacco. Vaping enthusiasts have the backing of a range of scientific studies that prove the benefits, or at the very least the absence of toxicity in vaping products.
Given the significant friction on the issue, biometric security could be seen as a compromise between the pro and con sides of the debate. As it stands today, a few prototypes are already available, for example in Florida with Vapor Corp, and could soon arrive in Europe. One thing is sure, sharing your vape with a friend may soon be a little more complicated…
Victoria has been an e-cigarette enthusiast since the first mechanical models. She brings her legal expertise of e-cigarette legislation in France and around the world.