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State AGs, Members of Congress Demand Regulation of E-Cigarettes

September 27, 2013


A growing chorus of elected officials at the state and federal level — 40 state attorneys general and a group of 10 U.S. senators and two U.S. House members — are demanding strong action to stop the marketing and sale of electronic cigarettes to kids.

The attorneys general wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg Tuesday, urging the FDA to swiftly regulate the e-cigarette industry and warning that e-cigarette manufacturers are tempting kids with sweet flavors, cartoon images and television advertising portraying e-cigarette use as attractive — in much the same way cigarette companies targeted children for decades.

'Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,' the attorneys general wrote.

On Thursday, 12 influential members of Congress wrote to the CEOs of nine e-cigarette manufacturers, asking them to respond to questions about their sales and marketing practices.

'Despite claims from some e-cigarette makers that they do not market their products to youth and that kids should not have access to their products, e-cigarette manufacturers appear to be applying marketing tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to hook a new generation of children,' the letter states. 'In light of public health concerns regarding exposure to addictive nicotine in e-cigarettes and the sharp rise in e-cigarette use among teens, we want to better understand your company's policy and practices related to the sale, marketing, and distribution of e-cigarettes.'

Several members of Congress previously have called on the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes.

Last week, 16 public health organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking that the President urge the FDA to move quickly to assert authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

These demands for FDA regulation come amidst an explosion of marketing for e-cigarettes and a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a doubling in youth use of e-cigarettes from 2011 to 2012.