Those in favor of the bill call e-cigarettes a ‘gateway’ to smoking cigarettes.
Senate Democrats introduced legislation this week that aims to ban marketing electronic cigarettes to teens, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The “Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act” would authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “determine what constitutes marketing e-cigarettes to children, and would allow the FTC to work with states attorneys general to enforce the ban.”
The bill was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), and Edward Markey (D., Mass.).
“We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” Boxer said in a statement. “This bill will help protect our children from an industry that profits from addiction.”
In a statement, Durbin pointed to “fruit and candy flavors and glossy celebrity ads,” while Harkin said electronic cigarettes advertising is “‘Joe Camel’ all over again.”
Electronic cigarettes simulate smoking by using water vapor, nicotine, and other additives. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study found nine contaminants in the water vapor of an electronic cigarette versus 11,000 in a tobacco cigarette, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“The health implications of using electronic cigarettes are not yet clear, and the Food and Drug Administration has warned that consumers of e-cigarette products ‘currently have no way of knowing’ if e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use, or how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use,” the press release said.
The Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing a proposed rule from the FDA that would give the agency regulatory power over electronic cigarettes.
The FDA wants to require companies to “register and pay fees, list the ingredients in their products, obtain prior approval for new products and restrict online sales,” according to Reuters.
Harkin said the proposed legislation prohibiting marketing to children would “complement” the FDA’s efforts and “ultimately help prevent e-cigarette manufacturers from targeting our children,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.