Ohio Attorney General DeWine is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue proposed regulations on electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes.
The bipartisan letter to the FDA was issued jointly with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and was co-signed by attorneys general from 38 additional states and territories. (NOTE: To read the letter, scroll down to the end of the story and click on the link.)
“Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,” DeWine wrote in his letter. “We ask the FDA to move quickly to ensure that all tobacco products are tested and regulated to ensure that companies do not continue to sell or advertise to our nation’s youth.”
DeWine’s letter urges the urges the FDA to take all available measures to regulate e-cigarettes as “tobacco products” under the Tobacco Control Act. E-cigarettes, an increasingly widespread product whose popularity is growing rapidly among both youth and adults, are battery operated products that heat liquid nicotine, derived from tobacco plants, into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.
DeWine’s letter expresses concern that e-cigarette manufacturers are using marketing tactics similar to those tobacco companies used in the past 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. Advertisements also 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.
This is the first letter DeWine has co-authored to become National Association of Attorneys General policy, which requires the signatures of 36 attorneys general. In addition to Ohio and Massachusetts, the letter to the FDA was signed by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming.