The FDA has been asked by 29 U.S. States to strengthen regulations concerning e-cigarettes so as to make sure that young people are better protected from nicotine addiction.
Attorneys General from all over the United States have signed the letter that asks the Food and Drug Administration to limit marketing and advertising for electronic cigarettes as strictly as they have for conventional cigarettes. Additionally, they desire that the FDA prohibit any other flavors apart from tobacco and menthol. Attorneys from New York, Indiana, Massachusetts, Illinois and many others have collectively written the letter that was sent to the FDA.
Eric Schneidermann, New York Attorney General, said in a press release, that while the FDA has attempted to regulate these tobacco products, such restrictions aren’t enough to protect the youth. The FDA proposed rules meant to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in April but the only restriction they set was the banning of e-cigarette usage by anyone under 18. Attorneys General advocate that by not prohibiting flavoring and by not limiting advertising, such electronic cigarette companies attract children.
Schneidermann added that just because these products don’t contain conventional tobacco, it doesn’t mean that addiction isn’t an issue. In fact, electronic cigarettes sometimes contain much more nicotine than conventional cigarettes and as such, they keep the addictive qualities that conventional ones have.
There are currently over 45 research projects that are being funded by the Food and Drug administration and that are intended to inform its regulations of the electronic cigarette industry.
According to recent information, more than 2 million children aged between 10 and 12 (also called tweenagers) have used electronic cigarettes. As the e-cigarette industry is continuing its expansion and marketing across the United States, attorneys general believe that stricter restrictions need to be set.
While the FDA spokeswoman agreed that it’s a matter of consumer protection that e-cigarettes be brought under the agency’s authority, she declined to address the request from the Attorneys General.
Among other obligations, electronic cigarette manufacturers will have to use correct warning labeling, ensure popper identification so as to prevent sales to underage youth and include health warnings.
As the FDA has not completely assessed the impact that e-cigarettes have on the public’s health, they will not be issuing a ruling any time soon.
The debate is whether e-cigarettes are beneficial or not. Some argue that they reduce disease and death by helping smokers quit and having a smaller toxicity, while others believe that they stimulate young people to start using them separately or delay quitting tobacco use altogether.
It remains the FDA’s task to determine which side’s argument is more valid.