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AGs urge FDA to Regulate Sale and Advertising of E-Cigarettes

September 24, 2013

Washington, DC---The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today to immediately regulate the sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as “tobacco products” under the Tobacco Control Act, as they are products made or derived from tobacco.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine to the user by heating liquid nicotine into a vapor that the user inhales. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 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.

Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent kids from obtaining e-cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012. E-cigarettes contain fruit and candy flavors that appeal to youth. The FDA banned such flavors from cigarettes and the attorneys general believe the federal agency should do the same with e-cigarettes.

Through television advertising, 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 e-cigarette ingredients.

“We ask the FDA to move quickly to ensure that all tobacco products are tested and regulated to ensure that companies do not continue to sell or advertise to our nation’s youth,” reads a Sept. 24 NAAG letter signed by 40 state and territorial attorneys general and sent to the FDA.

A copy of the NAAG letter can be found here: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php.

State attorneys general have fought for years to protect people from the dangers of tobacco products. In 1998, the attorneys general of 46 states signed the landmark tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States to recover billions of dollars in costs associated with smoking-related illnesses, and restrict cigarette advertising to prevent youth smoking. http://www.naag.org/tobacco.php

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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