State Attorneys General Call For Stricter E-Cig Rules From FDA

A group of 29 attorneys general are urging the FDA to impose stricter regulations on e-cigarettes, which have been aggressively marketed in recent years, especially targeting teens and young adults. 

In a letter to the FDA released on Friday, the states are calling on the agency to issue tougher regulations than those announced in April, calling for a prohibition on television advertising of e-cigarettes and a ban on the myriad of flavors that are appealing to children.

The 33 page letter was backed by the attorneys general from 29 states, including California, New York and Illinois, coming amid increased concerns about the safety of e-cigarrettes, which are more commonly referred to as e-cigs.

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The push calls on the FDA to address issues including restricting e-cigarette advertising over the internet, applying restrictions which would include age verification, sale at vending machines and including certain health warnings. Many of the suggestions are responses to issues which are aimed at addressing the popularity of e-cigarettes with teens.

Recent research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed e-cigarette use by teens has grown widely over the past few years. More than 75% of students surveyed had used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days.

The attorneys general and many critics of the electronic cigarette industry are calling for a ban on highly popular flavors, which some say helped electronic cigarettes rise in popularity much faster than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

In addition, the letter calls on the FDA to restrict the marketing and promotion of e-cigarettes in the same way marketing is restricted for regular cigarettes. Television advertising for traditional cigarettes was banned nearly four decades ago. Yet, t.v. marketing for e-cigarettes is allowed and widely used.

A similar letter was issued in September 2013, calling on the FDA to restrict e-cigarettes.

The FDA responded in April of this year, announcing the agency’s plans to begin overseeing electronic cigarettes. While the oversight of the products was long awaited, critics were displeased since the regulations did not call for a ban on certain flavors.

The new letter also calls for the FDA to strengthen the health warnings which are issued for the products to adequately warn consumers about the product they are using.

E-Cigarette Health Concerns

Recently, studies have suggested that there are likely some negative health effects linked to e-cigarettes. Laboratory analysis of e-cigarettes revealed the products contains carcinogens and toxic chemicals.

One chemical detected by researchers was diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze. Nitrosamines were also found, a substance which is present in regular cigarettes and is known to cause cancer.

The e-cigarette industry is poised to reach sales of $2 billion in the U.S. This year, whereas tobacco overall is a $100 billion industry. Advertising for e-cigarettes reached $79 million last year, up 278 percent from 2012.


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