Electronic cigarettes have been around for some time now, but the industry is still in its infancy. This hasn’t stopped it from growing to a 2.5$ billion income. Although many users see it as a fairly decent alternative to tobacco cigarettes, the FDA has yet to deem them safe. As a matter of fact, earlier this April, the Food and Drug Administration proposed the banning of e-cigarettes for consumers under 18 years-old. While some considers this a no-brainer, especially since tobacco laws also ban the use of electronic cigarettes for minors, there is no real support for the decision. There have been no studies to show that electronic cigarettes are dangerous for health.
Medical specialists and health advocacy groups from the United States continue to search for potentially negative health risks that may arise because of electronic cigarettes. Exactly 29 state attorneys general (including California, New York and Illinois) have voiced their distress in a 33-page letter to the Food and Drug Administration. The letter was submitted on Friday, and it contained specific concerns related to flavor, e-cigarette marketing strategies, internet sale of tobacco products and characterization.
As a conclusion, the state attorneys ask the FDA to strengthen E-cigarette regulations, which would categorize them as tobacco products. With this letter, regulations for electronic cigarette usage will become clearer, especially for youth. Until now, the FDA has been somewhat lax about their rules. General Eric Schneiderman, a New York Attorney was particularly concerned with two aspects concerning electronic cigarettes.
First of all, he wanted to learn more about the addictive nature of electronic cigarettes. Secondly, he wanted to address the problem of media and electronic cigarettes. Until now, media channels have glamourized electronic cigarettes, and the image conveyed in their commercials is not 100% true. This phenomenon is similar to the tobacco lobbying of yesteryear through which traditional cigarette commercials got banned.
The most alarming thought, however, is the teen use of electronic cigarettes. Statistics show that the percentage of teen e-cigarette users has doubled to 10% between 2011 and 2012. The number seems to be quickly growing, and trends suggest that it will continue to rise in the future, if the FDA does not take a stand.
The 29 state attorneys general want to push increase regulation for e-cigarettes and the marketing behind them. Simply put, they want the same regulations used on tobacco cigarettes, to be used on electronic ones. This means that they should be banned from television advertisements, and flavors should not be made available for teens under 18, to discourage use.