Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more popular, even trendy, as they are marketed with different flavors and colors to a young, modern clientele. Which means that Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (along with 39 other state attorneys general) are pushing hard to have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begin regulating electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
Three weeks ago, a letter signed by all these state attorneys general was sent to the FDA asking the federal agency to use powers granted to it under the Tobacco Control Act. Read their letter to the FDA here.
“Some smokers see e-cigarettes as a way to wean themselves off of other tobacco products, but the health effects of these popular alternatives have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated,” Zoeller said. “Nicotine is highly addictive and, if e-cigarettes are left unregulated, our state’s youth may use them as a gateway to smoking.”
What are Electronic Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are small plastic devices that are made to resemble a traditional cigarette, where using battery-power, they turn liquid nicotine into a vapor that can be inhaled from the e-cigarette’s tip. The nicotine is produced from tobacco leaves, and it is turned into a vapor in the device through its heating component.
- The user inhales through a mouthpiece.
- Air flow triggers a sensor that switches on a small, battery-powered heater.
- The heater vaporizes liquid nicotine in a small cartridge (it also activates a light at the “lit” end of the e-cigarette). Users can opt for a cartridge without nicotine.
- The heater also vaporizes propylene glycol (PEG) in the cartridge. PEG is the stuff of which theatrical smoke is made.
- The user gets a puff of hot gas that feels a lot like tobacco smoke.
- When the user exhales, there’s a cloud of PEG vapor that looks like smoke. The vapor quickly dissipates.
- E-cigarettes contain no tobacco products; even the nicotine is synthetic.
- The devices retail for $100 to $200.
- Refill cartridge packs vary in price depending on nicotine content, and liquid for do-it-yourself refills are sold, too. Each cartridge is good for several uses.
Dangers of E-Cigarettes: Addictive Nicotine Is Being Sold to School Kids
One of the biggest dangers of e-cigarettes is that right now, anyone can buy and use them. They are not covered by the tobacco protection laws for regular cigarettes that prohibit minors from buying tobacco products. It’s no real surprise that e-cigarette manufacturers see great profits in the youth market and there are marketing campaigns designed to attract young consumers to trying and using an electronic cigarette.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 approximately 1,800,000 middle school and high school students used e-cigarettes.