Forty attorney generals have filed an urgent request to the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) petitioning the agency to regulate and classify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. The letter was co-sponsored by attorneys general from Massachusetts Martha Coakley and Ohio’s Mike DeWine.
The plea to regulate e-cigarettes is focused mainly on how e-cigs manufacturer offering fruit and candy flavours are deemed to be appealing to children. This is also compounded by the fact that products are now inexpensive and widely available, as there are no age restrictions that can prevent them from gaining access to e-cigs, especially on the web.
According to the AG’s letter, the commercials for e-cigarettes have been aired during prime time TV when most children are watching. Citing the National Youth Tobacco Surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million middle and high school students have admitted to trying e-cigs in 2012.
They also added that there are inadequate studies on the safety effects of the device, yet consumers are led to believe otherwise. The AG’s go on to allege that e-cigarettes can be highly addictive and can supply strong doses of nicotine which can be hazardous. They concluded their request by insisting the US FDA meet their October 31st deadline and issue regulations on the advertising, ingredients and sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat nicotine-laced e-juice to create mist that can be inhaled and expelled by the users similar to using cigarettes. The user gets their nicotine hit without the cancer-causing chemicals, tar, or the offensive smell of regular tobacco products. Tom Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, agrees with the attorneys general that e-cigs should be responsibly restricted by the agency in terms of sales and marketing, especially the ban on advertising that appeal to children.
“We’re in agreement with responsible restrictions on the marketing and sales of these products,” including a ban on marketing aimed at children, he said. “What I cringe at is when e-cigarettes get demonized.”