E-CIGARETTES COULD BE SUBJECT TO NEW REGULATIONS

E-cigarettes could be subject to new restrictions by the FDA.Electronic cigarettes are the newest cause for debate among medical professionals, lawmakers and tobacco companies as the the devices become increasing popular. Recently, 29 state attorneys general have looked to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to impose tougher restrictions on the electronic devices, citing the  risk e-cigarettes pose to the health of the nation’s youth. This request comes just months after a proposal in April that moved to prohibit e-cigarettes from being purchased by anyone under the age of 18. The battery-powered smoking machines have become increasingly popular over the last decade, especially as many states adopt strict limitations on where traditional cigarettes can be consumed. It is estimated e-cigarettes will soon be a $2 billion market annually.

How e-cigarettes work

Proponents of e-cigs argue that the process is not the same as smoking traditional cigarettes. This method for consuming nicotine involves inhaling vapor rather than smoke. A sensor within the electronic cigarette triggers a vaporizer to heat up a small amount of liquid flavoring.2 Though e-cigarettes often look similar to the real thing, they don’t hold tobacco and don’t require a flame. This technicality allows them to be inhaled in public places where cigarettes are banned in many states, such as restaurants and bowling alleys. However, the health risks of e-cigarettes are still subject to much debate. Though developed originally in 1963, the electronic sticks were not widely used in the United States until after they were redesigned in China in 2003.This means there has been little time to fully study the effects of repeated vapor inhalation, and a study conducted by the FDA in 2009 found detectable levels of toxins and carcinogens in e-cigs.4

Additionally, many former smokers claim that e-cigarettes allowed them to help kick the habit of smoking the real deal. However, switching might just be subbing out one vice for a slightly better one. If e-cigs still encourage nicotine addiction, its likely many former smokers will not entirely wean off the habit of vaping.

Advertising

The attorneys general are fighting for stricter advertising and flavoring restrictions, considering traditional cigarettes have long been limited in both areas. While television ads for cigarettes were banned decades ago, e-cigs can currently be advertised on TV, often focusing on the wide variety of flavors available. Ad spending for companies in the industry reached $79 million in 2013.The attorneys suggest that advertising the devices could potentially lead to more young nicotine addicts. Traditional cigarette companies can still place advertisements in magazines and direct mailings, making it possible that e-cigarettes will eventually be subject to the same restrictions.6

Flavoring

Electronic cigarettes come in a wide range of candy flavors, which many opponents suggest is a direct ploy to lure adolescents to the product. Flavors include numerous fruits such as peach, green apple and cherry, as well as more dessert-oriented tastes like coffee and cookies and cream.Traditional cigarette companies have been banned from using flavorings except for menthol, but some of the smoking giants such as the makers of Marlboro and Camel are developing e-cigs to compete in the growing field.

E-cigarettes also face less regulation in regard to sales. The devices are currently allowed to be sold online, potentially creating another pathway for them to be consumed by those underage. This gives adolescents the opportunity to purchase e-cigs without having to come face-to-face with the salesperson. Nicotine studies have shown that the drug has a negative effect on neurological developments in adolescents, including impulse control. This means a younger generation might not only suffer mentally from inhaling nicotine vapor, but also that indulging in nicotine at a young age could decrease their ability to quit the habit.

1“States Urge Tougher Curbs on E-Cigarettes” by Mike Esterl. The Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/state-attorneys-general-urge-tougher-curbs-on-e-cigarettes-1407514160

2“Vaping: How E-cigs Work (Infographic)” by Karl Tate. Live Science. November 14, 2013. http://www.livescience.com/41211-how-electronic-cigarettes-work-infographic.html

3“Vaping: How E-cigs Work (Infographic)” by Karl Tate. Live Science. November 14, 2013. http://www.livescience.com/41211-how-electronic-cigarettes-work-infographic.html

4“Vaping: How E-cigs Work (Infographic)” by Karl Tate. Live Science. November 14, 2013. http://www.livescience.com/41211-how-electronic-cigarettes-work-infographic.html

5“States Urge Tougher Curbs on E-Cigarettes” by Mike Esterl. The Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/state-attorneys-general-urge-tougher-curbs-on-e-cigarettes-1407514160

6“States Urge Tougher Curbs on E-Cigarettes” by Mike Esterl. The Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/state-attorneys-general-urge-tougher-curbs-on-e-cigarettes-1407514160

7“Proposed Ban For Flavored E-Cigarettes” by WSIL Reporter. ABC WSILtv.com. Aug 10, 2014 http://www.wsiltv.com/news/local/Proposed-Ban-For-Flavored-E-Cigarettes-270688881.html

8“States Urge Tougher Curbs on E-Cigarettes” by Mike Esterl. The Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/state-attorneys-general-urge-tougher-curbs-on-e-cigarettes-1407514160

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