The Need for Electronic Cigarette Regulations

September 26, 2013 Law Research

Electronic cigarettes have a number of state attorneys working together to ask the federal government to start regulating these devices more than ever. The
Attorneys urge regulation over electronic cigarette sales & advertising
reason for their concern is because of its growing popularity, there is a fear that children may get their hands on these tobacco products.

 

What are electronic cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are either metal or plastic, battery-powered devices that look like a regular cigarette. When smoked, liquid nicotine is heated, which creates a vapor that the user inhales. Using e-cigarettes gives the user nicotine without the other chemicals, tar, or odor found in regular cigarettes. The health effects of these cigarettes have not been adequately studied.


The problem with electronic cigarettes.

Forty attorney generals sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration  (FDA) urging them to meet the deadline to regulate e-cigarettes. The goal is to have e-cigarettes regulated in the same way that regular tobacco products are regulated.

 

In the letter, the attorneys state that e-cigarettes are marketed toward children by using cartoon-like characters for advertising. In addition, the electronic cigarettes are offered in a variety of flavors, such as apple, grape, bubble gum, and mint, in a similar way to how cigarettes were once marketed to lure in new smokers. Since e-cigarettes are not regulated in the same way as regular tobacco products, there are no restrictions for advertising.

 

As regular cigarettes are becoming more expensive and their use is declining, e-cigarettes are becoming widely affordable and readily available. In a recent report from the CDC, roughly 1.8 million middle and high school students reported they had tried an electronic cigarette.  People, especially kids and young adults, are coerced to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, but are just as addictive as regular cigarettes, and can even deliver a higher concentration of nicotine to the user.

 

As of now, the FDA only regulates cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. It does not have regulatory powers over e-cigarettes, unless the product claims to have therapeutic benefits, such as stating it will help stop smoking. Without this federal regulation, electronic cigarettes can be sold to minors in the states that do not restrict the sales. In addition, the ingredients are not regulated as well.

The deadline for the FDA to meet is October 31st to take control of the issue with advertising, ingredients, and sales of electronic cigarettes to minors.

 

What do you think about electronic cigarettes? Do you believe electronic cigarettes will be demonized like regular tobacco products?

 

Video: Concern over teens smoking e-cigarettes.

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