Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, along with 39 other attorneys general, signed a letter to the Food and Drug Administration yesterday asking that it place stricter regulations on the advertising and sale of electronic cigarettes.
The initiative aims to deter teen use of e-cigarettes and comes only a few weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study saying one in ten high school students tried an e-cigarette in the last year. That number doubled from 2011 statistics.
E-cigarettes are not regulated the same way traditional tobacco is, with no age requirement to purchase them and no restrictions on advertising.
It’s the advertising of e-cigarettes that concerns Terry Tolliver, the Deputy Director for Consumer Protection at the attorney general’s office.
“Some e-cigarette companies are using cartoon characters to sell their products,” Tolliver said. “Some of the flavors that are banned in tobacco are now being used to sell e-cigarettes and some of them are especially appealing to children. There are flavors such as cherry, chocolate, gummy bear and bubble gum.”
E-cigarette company Altria said in a statement after the CDC report was released that it does not encourage children using e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product.
The group of attorneys general urged the FDA to meet an October 31 deadline to put these restrictions in place.