A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Dick Durbin has issued a report showing that, in the absence of regulations like those imposed on tobacco products, e-cigarettes are being openly marketed to young people:
The Gateway to Addiction report written by the lawmakers’ staff after surveying e-cig makers finds e-cigarette companies are using marketing tactics that appeal to young people, such as handing out samples at events like music festivals, social-media promotion and offering kid-friendly flavors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1.78 million children and teens tried e-cigarettes in 2012. … According to the report, six of the surveyed e-cigarette companies support some regulation.
The report is the opening volley in a campaign to regulate vaping. Jason Koebler expects Congress to act soon:
The FDA, for its part, has moved slowly on the issue. Three years ago, the agency said they were considering regulating e-cigs, but they haven’t done so yet, electing only to regulate the ones specifically marketed for therapeutic purposes (that is, those that are specifically marketed to help you quit smoking). Instead, the agency says it “intents to issue a proposed rule extending FDA’s tobacco product authorities beyond [cigarettes] to include other products like e-cigarettes.”
And German Lopez voxplains how little we know about how bad e-cigs are for you:
One of the major risks of e-cigarettes right now is that we simply don’t have a lot of good information about their health effects. One study from an international group of scientists found e-cigarettes are safer than conventional cigarettes but still toxic. Researchers estimated conventional cigarette smoke contained 9-450 times more toxins than e-cigarette vapor. They also advised more research into the issue.
Another ongoing study indicates e-cigarettes could cause genetic mutations that can lead to cancer. Researchers from UCLA, Boston University, and the University of Texas so far found that certain cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor showed similar genetic changes as cells exposed to conventional cigarette smoke. The changes weren’t identical, but researchers said there were striking similarities — enough to raise concerns that e-cigarettes could, at some level, lead to lung cancer.