Iowa’s top law enforcement officer is joining a call for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “take all available measures” to regulate electronic cigarettes. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller wants the FDA to restrict the ingredients and advertising of e-cigarettes, and prohibit sales to minors.
“The use among kids of the e-cigarette is growing dramatically nationwide, it has doubled within the last year,” Miller says. A survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly 1.8 million middle and high school students across the country tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
While the e-cigarette produces vapor rather than smoke, Miller notes it’s still a “nicotine delivery device,” so it’s still “highly addictive.” The majority of the e-cigarettes on the market are now manufactured by the three major cigarette makers. Miller says their marketing efforts are “pretty clearly” trying to appeal to children.
“The concern is young people will start with the e-cigarette and graduate or change to the combustible cigarette,” Miller says. “The same goes for adults, they might start here and go to the other cigarette, or they might stay with the e-cigarette as they try and quit, rather than full out quitting.” Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes, Miller said.
He has joined roughly three dozen state attorneys general in signing a letter to the FDA, urging the agency to regulate electronic cigarettes as “tobacco products” under the Tobacco Control Act.