Congressional report on ecigarettes focuses on marketing to kids

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This might be the beginning of the end for the wild and woolly world of ecig advertising.

Sen. Dick Durbin, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, California Rep. Henry Waxman, three of the biggest anti-tobacco do-gooders in Congress wrote the report about how ecig advertising is being directed at kids the same way tobacco advertising was directed at kids 30 years ago.

In the words of the AP story:

While the Food and Drug Administration plans to set marketing and product regulations for electronic cigarettes in the near future, for now, almost anything goes.

This is absolutely true: Almost anything goes. You have ecig billboards with Santa Claus; ads in Sports Illustrated with ecigs advertised on women’s bikini bottoms.

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In addition to marketing, the congressional report also talks about sugary flavours for ecigs, lack of warning labels and no age restrictions for their use. (That seems easy to me, no nicotine products at all for people under 18).

The FDA moves glacially slow. In 2011, the agency said it was going to regulated ecigs (but the agency has done virtually nothing yet. As an aside, the FDA was put in charge of nicotine five or six years ago and has done little but ban candy-flavoured cigarettes and Indian cigarettes). Supposedly, the proposed FDA regulations over ecig advertising were submitted in October of last year.

“I can’t understand why the FDA is taking this long,” Durbin said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It is clear that the longer they wait, the more young people will be addicted.”

While ecigs might be effective in helping some people quit smoking, there’s absolutely no reason for kids to be using them as a substitute for cigarettes, and it appears with some of the advertising that that is the intent. Ecigs give off steam and nicotine. Nicotine is still incredibly addictive, even if it comes from an ecig, and it’s still a drug with plenty of side effects. No reason to get kids started on it, period. I’m all for people quitting via ecigs, but this marketing crap needs to be cracked down on. I would like to see the FDA act yesterday, and it looks like several people in Congress would, too.

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