The attorneys general of 41 states asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue regulations for e-cigarettes by the end of October. They said they want to ensure e-cigarette companies do not continue to sell or advertise to minors.
In a letter to the FDA, the attorneys general said sales of e-cigarettes have doubled every year since 2008. They are projected to reach $1.7 billion this year. The cost has decreased, making them more appealing to young people. Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that prevent children from buying e-cigarettes, and there are no advertising restrictions, the letter states.
“Consumers are led to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes, despite the fact that they are addictive, and there is no regulatory oversight ensuring the safety of the ingredients in e-cigarettes,” they wrote.
The FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco, but not e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco or cigars. Under a 2009 law, the FDA can expand its authority over all tobacco products, but it must first issue new regulations, Reuters reports.
Last week, public health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to pressure the FDA into issuing e-cigarette regulations.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found use of e-cigarettes among middle and high schools students doubled from 2011 to 2012. The CDC found 10 percent of high school students had tried an e-cigarette last year, compared with 5 percent the previous year.