CNN report on the rise of e-cigarettes among teens — “Are e-cigs really the Wild West?”


CNN did a piece Dec. 31 (Hey, the report includes that sucky Blu ad I hate with the racecar-driving Stephen Dorff).

When asked by CNN correspondent Poppy Harlow if e-cigs are “really the Wild West,” Mitchell Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products, responds, “Absolutely. They are currently unregulated.” Zeller goes on to say, “it took us way too long to get the proposed rule out.”

That “proposed rule” Zeller is referring to are FDA regulations being developed to govern the sale of e-cigs. Unfortunately, as they currently stand, those regulations pretty much only do one thing — ban the sale of e-cig products to kids under 18. That’s a good start, but other than that, nothing of substance. No control over that flashy, sexy e-cigarette advertising and no controls over the sugary and fruity nicotine flavours. I know the FDA is getting pressured to crack down on e-cig marketing and candy flavours, but who knows if their final rules will change from the draft the agency released a few months ago.

Zeller was also asked if the recent boom in e-cig use by kids threatens to create a whole new generation of nicotine addicts. (Nicotine is not the most toxic substance in cigarettes, but it is shockingly physically addictive.)

Wow, I didn’t know this. There are actually cotton candy and Gummy Bear e-cigarette flavours. Harlow asks a tobacco industry lobbyist if he could defend those kinds of flavours and even a lobbyist said he can’t.

“I wouldn’t go into a member of Congress’ office and say we need to protect candy-like flavours,” said tobacco lobbyist John Scofield.

Not real new information for me, but I’m glad to see CNN jumping on this story.