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Zoeller joins multi-state call for e-cigarette regulation

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The Food and Drug Administration should restrict the sale and marketing of increasingly popular e-cigarettes, particularly to minors, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller advocates in joining a letter signed by AGs from 36 other states and three U.S. territories.

The officials signed a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the agency “to take all available measures to meet the FDA’s stated deadline of October 31, 2013, to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients, and sale to minors of electronic cigarettes.”

The battery-operated devices allow the user to inhale a vapor produced by heating liquid nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves. “The nicotine found in e-cigarettes is highly addictive, has immediate bio-chemical effects on the brain and body at any dosage, and is toxic in high doses,” the letter says.

It also says the FDA should move to ban marketing of e-cigarettes to children, noting “E-cigarettes contain fruit and candy flavors – such as cherry, chocolate, gummy bear, and bubble gum – that are appealing to youth. The FDA has banned such flavors from cigarettes and should take the same action regarding e-cigarettes.”

The letter notes several manufacturers use cartoon monkeys and images such as those from the popular video game “Angry Birds” on reusable vapor jackets “intended to make the e-cigarette desirable or fashionable … to children.” The AGs cites National Youth Surveys that show the number of high school students who tried an e-cigarette rose from 1 in 20 in 2011 to 1 in 10 in 2012.

The letter says sales of e-cigarettes have doubled annually since 2008 and are projected to reach $1.7 billion this year. That would be only a fraction of the roughly $80 billion in annual tobacco cigarette sales, but the increasing use of e-cigarettes is accompanied by a decline in their cost, the letter notes.

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,” the letter says in urging the FDA to use its authority to extend the application of the Tobacco Control Act to e-cigarettes.

“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,” Zoeller said in a statement. “Nicotine is highly addictive and, if e-cigarettes are left unregulated, our state’s youth may use them as a gateway to smoking.”

 

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  • Adults like those things too
    I am a 45 year old man. I play angry birds. I like flavors. So do other adults - go to a Starbucks sometime and listen to the orders. Flavored cigars take up square yards of displays, because adults like flavors too. And, it is silly to argue that an e-cig, which is designed as an alternative to cigarette smoking, is a "gateway."

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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