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Hawaii AG, others urge regulation of e-cigarettes

By Mark Pratt

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:35 a.m. HST, Sep 24, 2013

BOSTON >> Forty attorneys general, including Hawaii AG David Louie, sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.

The letter, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Attorney Martha Coakley and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, says e-cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors, much like cigarettes were once marketed to hook new smokers.

At the same time, e-cigarettes are becoming more affordable and more widely available as the use of regular cigarettes decline as they become more expensive and less socially acceptable.

"Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions," DeWine wrote.

Electronic cigarettes are metal or plastic battery-powered devices resembling traditional cigarettes that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are being advertised during prime-time television hours at a time when many children are watching, according to the letter, which has led a surge in sales and use.

The health effects of e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated, the letter said.

"People, especially kids, are being led to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative, but they are highly addictive and can deliver strong doses of nicotine," Coakley said.

Citing a National Youth Tobacco Surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the attorneys generals said 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012, mirroring increases in the use of the product by adults.

The letter urges the FDA to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients and sale to minors of e-cigarettes. The decision has been delayed in the past.

Tom Kiklas, co-founder and chief financial officer of the industry group, the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, agrees that e-cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products. The group represents dozens of companies involved in the manufacture and sales of e-cigarettes.

"We're in agreement with responsible restrictions on the marketing and sales of these products," including a ban on marketing aimed at children, he said. "What I cringe at is when e-cigarettes get demonized."

The other states and territories joining the letter to the FDA, according to Coakley's office, are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam,  Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming.

Letter from state Attorneys General to U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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false wrote:
The advantages of smoking E-cigs over regular cigs has been prominently noted in recent articles, including the SA. Studies indicate that it helps in stopping regular smoking. At the same time, there is no obnoxious, foul smelling tar ridden smoke expelled, only water vapor. Seems like a win-win for both non-smokers who deserve clean air and those trying to stop smoking. I do, however, agree that there should be restrictions for underage children. Until tests prove otherwise, I hope all smokers switch to e-cigs to help them quit smoking entirely.
on September 24,2013 | 09:09AM
hidoc wrote:
Good studies have NOT been done to confirm if e-cigs are either safer or less safe than tobacco cigarettes. I've met people who said they knew someone who quit smoking because of e-cigs. However there aren't any good studies proving e-cigs help people quit. That is why e-cig companies are not allowed to claim that they help people quit smoking. In time, we'll know more. Until then, what we do know is that nicotine products (dip, cigs, etc) are very addictive and it should be kept away from children. Even Mr. Kiklas agrees with that.
on September 24,2013 | 11:13AM
krusha wrote:
Yeah, but if water vapor was so harmful, then taking showers would be banned by now. I hope they do an extensive study soon, but we all pretty much know that this stuff is a million times safer than traditional cancer sticks.
on September 24,2013 | 12:30PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
I agree
on September 24,2013 | 06:20PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
I went and purchased one of those e-cigs for myself (volcano product) and was very happy that I finally found something that helped me to quit smoking. Yes, I smoked the nicotine flavor, but the difference is that their is no tar going into your lungs which is the main cause of cancer. When I got the urge, I smoked this pipe and eventually after about a month of smoking this e-cig,I finally just stopped. I believe those tobacco corporations are the one's lobbying big time to regulate these e-cigs and only because people are buying them and finally quitting smoking.
on September 24,2013 | 06:19PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Until the studies are done, it's crucial that we protect the public from potential health hazards. For those who don't remember, during WWII, cigarettes were given as rations to troops. No one knew then, the carcinogenic carnage it would eventually cause. I don't like people smoking those things inside the bus but currently it's allowed.
on September 24,2013 | 09:12AM
SA001 wrote:
E-cigarettes are not allowed on The Bus. http://thebus.org/howtoride/RulesReg.asp?l= "No Smoking City ordinance prohibits smoking on TheBus, including e-cigarettes."
on September 24,2013 | 09:43AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Thank you. I wasn't aware of the provision. Now I can have my wife punch out next lolo that blows e-smoke in my face.
on September 24,2013 | 10:08AM
whaole wrote:
I ride the bus regularly and have not seen any signs, nor have I seen any driver try to enforce this supposed ban on e-cigarettes. Just yesterday I teenager was puffing away on his e-cig in plain sight of the driver and everyone on the bus. He continued to toke on his e-cig the whole way without a peep from anyone. I'm not saying that it should or should not be banned and treated like a cigarette, I am only wondering what basis does the City have for its restriction on the bus when no other Gov't Agency has done the same. It seems at this point the City's ban cannot be held up in the court of law and cannot be enforced and can be only interpreted as a bullying tactic.
on September 24,2013 | 10:49AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
A product doesn't have to be heavily regulated to be banned. Food and drink are also prohibited, aren't they?
on September 24,2013 | 11:24AM
lowtone123 wrote:
I believe in Hawaii you have to be of legal age to purchase any nicotine products.
on September 24,2013 | 12:20PM
false wrote:
Can't quite follow your logic. Are you saying that you'd now rather smell someone else's foul smelling smoke than non-smelling vapor?
on September 24,2013 | 10:05AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Your logic cap fell off and your reading comprehension compass needs to be demagnitized. What the heck are you talking about?
on September 24,2013 | 10:11AM
false wrote:
I'll take an e-cigaret over a regular cigarette any day...
on September 24,2013 | 02:09PM
loquaciousone wrote:
How about none of the above? I don't like cigarette smoke and I don't like e-cigarette unknowns.
on September 24,2013 | 03:14PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
We should be stopping pesticides that are being introduced to our precious land before we even think of stopping e-cigs. We'll be well poisoned shortly if we continue to allow Monsanto and those other corporate cronies associated with them the green light to do what they want. This is where regulations should come into play....not over mechanical vapor cigarettes.
on September 24,2013 | 06:35PM
aomohoa wrote:
We certainly don't need teenagers thinking this is the cool new thing to do.
on September 24,2013 | 09:22AM
Fred01 wrote:
I agree, cigarettes and joints are much preferred.
on September 24,2013 | 02:20PM
serious wrote:
I can not believe that there is a product that the State legislature Democrats hasn't regulated and taxed out of business.
on September 24,2013 | 09:37AM
glory_glory_man_utd wrote:
A friend of mine said that because it is vapor you are essentially filling your lungs with water...could regular usage over a long period of time result in accumulated water in the lungs and eventual/ possible drowning?
on September 24,2013 | 10:00AM
Mythman wrote:
Tourists would not have to go to Hanauma Bay to snorkle to drown - they could just go to vol can o and smoke, Mr. Glory
on September 24,2013 | 10:37AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
If we're talking about volume, water and water vapor are not the same thing. You aren't slowly drowning yourself any more than smoking traditional cigarettes is pouring acetone, benzene, ammonia and arsenic right into your lungs.
on September 24,2013 | 11:31AM
Nocturnal wrote:
Yes it can lead to pneumonia.
on September 24,2013 | 11:53AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Sunday I drove circle island and noticed in Hauula young kids (ages 8-12) holding up signs encouraging people to buy e-cigs along the side of Kam Hwy near the Hauula Seven-11..............is that legal?
on September 24,2013 | 10:12AM
Mythman wrote:
It is an omission of interest that no where in the story is the cause of such concern on the part of states regarding this new, untested method of nicotine delivery, namely TOBACCO TAXES - replacing cancer causing ciggies with elec cigs eliminates not only cancer of the lungs and throat and mouth but also TAXES collected by states for the sale of ciggies. The industry ought not be tricked by this red herring "What I cringe at is when e-cigarettes get demonized". Why without all that tax money what in the world would government do with itself besides policing us?
on September 24,2013 | 10:35AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I agree that there should be more done to protect our children from using these devices. But at the same time we need to ensure that e-cigarette users' rights are not railroaded. I am not a smoker myself but I do know when rights are being railroaded. Yes, there should be studies to actually find out what effects that e-cigarette second-hand "smoke" causes. There appears to be some misinformation basically equating the "smoke" being the same as cigarette smoke. Thus, we are making rules that simply should not apply to this device. We need to be compassionate to those who are trying to quit smoking. Forcing them to behave like lepers is not compassionate. We need to give them some space and the opportunity to live a dignified life.
on September 24,2013 | 10:42AM
whaole wrote:
I agree with the AG on the issue of regulating the e-cigarettes being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors. The fact that the e-cigarettes helps in stopping regular smoking, contributes to cleaner air and obnoxious, foul smelling smoke does not address the induction of increased use of highly addictive and strong doses of nicotine. Highly Addictive and Strong Doses are compelling enough reasons that the regulation should be initiated without delay.
on September 24,2013 | 10:43AM
localguy wrote:
Here we go again. Any time you here a bureaucrat say "Regulation for public health and safety" what they really mean is here comes a new tax. Taxes on smoking designed to stop it. Ok, it is working, here come E-cigs. But wait, bureaucrats see they golden goose/money pit getting smaller, can't fund their pet projects. Watch them try to introduce a new tax to cover the cost of "Professional Management" read to mean, here we go again, take, take, take. No reason for a heavy tax on them like regular cigs.
on September 24,2013 | 10:48AM
techboy57 wrote:
Just one more product that the government can TAX for more revenue. This might be the 1st. step in getting there!
on September 24,2013 | 10:59AM
noheawilli wrote:
Of course a state official is going to urge regulation, it's what the leviathan does, gain more and more social power.
on September 24,2013 | 11:03AM
false wrote:
Hard to believe this e-cig phenomenon was developed in China.
on September 24,2013 | 11:17AM
MariaBetty wrote:
They need to be made in America. Who knows what China puts in them.
on September 24,2013 | 11:17AM
Mythman wrote:
Imagine,that, communist artificial smoke, and tax free at that.
on September 24,2013 | 12:31PM
false wrote:
True that the first E-cigs were developed and manufactured in China. However now, there are many U.S. made types. Google. Most of the large U.S. cigarette mfgs. such as Lorillard, Reynolds and Altria have bought up these companies. They must realize that smokers are switching and want to get in on the action. I, myself, don't and never have smoked but too many of my relatives and friends have suffered and died. Emphysema and wasting away, lung cancer and losing your voice box is not a pretty thing to see. That's why I'm an advocate.
on September 24,2013 | 12:42PM
Nocturnal wrote:
They mean more taxes on this stuff :)
on September 24,2013 | 11:49AM
ElderScrolls wrote:
E-Cigarette helped me quit smoking. It does work.
on September 24,2013 | 12:18PM
Mythman wrote:
You stopped smoking? What's your name? We need to enter you into the registry for making up for the taxes you are no longer paying for tobacco.
on September 24,2013 | 12:32PM
juscasting wrote:
For all the lolo's that support this ban, push to add caffeine products to the list also! Both are additivem stimulants and can be deadly in high doses! Bye bye all you red bull chronics!
on September 24,2013 | 12:44PM
Bully wrote:
E-cigs is a growing concern but that does not mean it needs to be regulated yet. It cost the tax payers money to regulate e-cigs.
on September 24,2013 | 02:33PM
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