National Association of Attorneys General Urges FDA to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes

The organization is arguing that the e-cigarette industry advertises to minors.

Yesterday the National Association of Attorneys General issued a letter to the FDA urging the agency to regulate the advertising, ingredients, and sale of electronic cigarettes. Photograph via Shutterstock.

The Reston Association board of directors isn’t the only group cracking down on the growing market for electronic cigarettes. A major national organization has now entered the controversial debate, urging the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the product. 

In a letter issued yesterday, the DC-based National Association of Attorneys General implored the FDA to regulate the advertising, ingredients, and sale of electronic cigarettes, specifically to minors. The letter was signed by 40 attorneys general; Maryland’s Douglas F. Gansler signed, while Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli did not.

The letter noted the rapid growth in popularity of e-cigarettes in recent years, and argued that the falling costs of the product, commercial advertisements, and added flavoring have made them more affordable and attractive to youth. Currently, there are no federal age restrictions that prevent children from purchasing e-cigarettes, nor are there advertising restrictions.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated products, designed to resemble traditional cigarettes, that turn nicotine and other chemicals and flavorings into a vapor that the user then inhales. Although a recent study published in the Lancet found that the use of e-cigarettes proved to be just as successful as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit, the attorneys general asserted that the products are being marketed not as smoking cessation devices, “but rather as recreational alternatives to real cigarettes.”

The letter continued by pressing the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the Tobacco Control Act, which states that products are “made or derived from tobacco.”

The FDA is expected to propose regulations by October 31. The agency has been meeting with the e-cigarette industry for the past month.

Read the full letter at the National Association of Attorneys General’s website.