E-cigarettes have been heralded as the saving grace for those who are addicted to cigarettes and putting their lives and the lives of those around them at risk due to carcinogenic smoke exposure – or that’s what the marketers would have us believe. A group of 29 state attorneys general disagree, however. They have banded together to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put restrictions on the product. According to the Wall Street Journal, the attorneys general have asked the FDA to:
- Ban television ads for e-cigs
- Ban fruit-flavored varieties
- Strengthen health warnings on the product
Thus far, the FDA has proposed regulating the sale of e-cigarettes to kids under the age of 18 but has not created any further limitations on their marketing or sales.
The attorneys general wrote a letter to the FDA, stating: “While the proposed rule addresses some of our concerns, it fails to address matters of particular concern, such as characterizing flavors, the marketing of e-cigarettes, and the sale of tobacco products over the Internet.”
If the FDA agrees to the requests of the attorneys general, it could mean some significant changes. Currently, there are thousands of flavors of e-cigarettes available, and the product is freely advertised on TV. Sales are projected to top $2 billion in the US in 2014, so it is likely that any changes that would limit continued growth and would be lobbied against by interested parties.
Though many say that e-cigarettes can help people who are addicted to cigarettes stop smoking and thus decrease overall harm to their health, the attorneys general warn that they could be a gateway to nicotine addiction for young people who think the product is cool and enjoy the fruit flavors.
What Do You Think?
E-cigarettes could be a help to one person but a hindrance to another. Trusting consumers to behave responsibly and with a certain amount of caution in prioritizing their own health is not a risk that legislators seem willing to make. Perhaps it is the ongoing waves of litigation aimed at the tobacco industry that is making them take pause – or the millions of dollars lost in health care costs and wages due to tobacco dependence – and their fear that the same will soon happen with e-cigarettes.
Do you believe they’re right to be worried about the potential harm caused by e-cigarettes? Or do you think they are overreacting? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.