Group Asks FDA to Regulate Nicotine in E-cigarettes
September 25, 2013 — Indiana’s attorney general is part of a group of attorneys general who want electronic cigarettes regulated like real tobacco.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller and 39 other attorneys general want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes.
The group wants the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, which use nicotine, as tobacco products under the Tobacco Control Act. E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that heat liquid nicotine, a tobacco plant derivative, into a vapor inhaled by the user.
Zoeller says, “Some smokers see e-cigarettes as a way to wean themselves off of other tobacco products, but the health effects of these popular alternatives have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated. Nicotine is highly addictive and, if e-cigarettes are left unregulated, our state’s youth may use them as a gateway to smoking.”
Zoeller’s office says a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, “from 2011 to 2012, the percentages of youth who have tried or currently use e-cigarettes both roughly doubled. The survey estimates that nearly 1.8 million middle and high school students have tried e-cigarettes in 2012.”
While traditional tobacco products are federally restricted from purchase by minors, Zoeller says there are no federal age restrictions to prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes. The letter highlights the need to protect youth from becoming addicted to nicotine through these new products.
He says state attorneys general have fought for years to protect people from tobacco product risks, including 1998’s agreement with the nation’s four largest tobacco companies to recover billions of dollars in states’ costs associated with smoking-related illnesses and to address cigarette advertising to prevent youth smoking.
Zoeller’s office says, “According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nicotine is highly addictive and has immediate bio-chemical effects on the brain and body at any dosage, and is toxic in high doses.
“E-cigarette manufacturers are using marketing tactics similar to those big tobacco used in the last 50 to 100 years to attract new smokers. Celebrity endorsements, television advertising, cartoons, fruit flavors, attractive packaging and cheap prices all serve to encourage youth consumption of these dangerous products.”
Zoeller’s office notes that some marketing claims, “imply that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, when in fact nicotine is highly addictive, the health effects of e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied, and the ingredients are not regulated and may still contain carcinogens.”
Click link to see the attorneys general letter: AG Zoeller E Cigarette Final Letter