With the federal government slow to regulate the e-cigarette industry, attorneys general in different states are launching campaigns aimed at curbing e-cigarette sales and marketing to minors.
Attorneys general in over 12 different states have begun to enforce new local and state laws that were crafted to regulate the "vaping" industry. Attorneys general have begun issuing threats of litigation against small-scale e-cigarette shops and larger e-cigarette companies like Reynolds American Inc and Altria Group. The AGs are appealing to e-cigarette companies' senses of social responsibility and accountability, while threatening them with regulatory lawsuits -- some of which have already been initiated.
E-Cigarrette Use Tripled Among Teens in 2014
Legal action at the state level has increased after government-collected information on e-cigarette popularity was published in April. It has been known that teenage vape users have been increased in numbers dramatically for some time. In fact, the government research in April shows that the numbers tripled during 2014. This means that e-cigarettes are far more popular among teens than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
According to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, he wants to avoid having a new generation that is addicted to tobacco. The regulatory actions of state attorneys general were crucial in the war against big tobacco during the 1990s, which succeeded in changing public perception of cigarettes, essentially vilifying them and turning consumers -- including many youngsters -- away from their use.
Approximately one year ago, a number of state AGs requested that the FDA institute stiffer regulations against e-cigarettes. However, the FDA is still weighing the various benefits and risks associated with their use.
Could Be Years Before Child Vaping Regulations Are Implemented on the Federal Level
In April 2014, the FDA offered the proposal of prohibiting e-cigarette sales to children under 18 years of age; however, it did not issue any recommendations relating to limiting advertising and sales efforts directed at children. Furthermore, the FDA's proposal to limit vape sales to kids is still under review -- which means that children can still legally purchase e-cigarettes under federal law. It is expected that the regulations will be finalized by late summer, but they will not likely go into effect for several years.
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