Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is joining the Indiana and New York attorneys general in petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to tighten regulations of electronic cigarettes and other under-regulated tobacco products.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are a relatively new product in the tobacco market. However, their use is increasing in popularity, especially among American youth. From 2013 to 2014 alone, the number of high school students using e-cigarette products had more than tripled from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent, according to a study performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number equates to roughly 2 million students using in 2014.
“We know nicotine is harmful and addictive for anyone at any age no matter how it's consumed. Young people who could become addicted should be aware of and educated on the dangers nicotine poses,” said Eileen Boyce, press secretary to the Illinois Attorney General.
At this time, only 17 states currently have regulations in place for e-cigarettes, and no federal regulations or guidelines currently exist.
“E-cigarettes present cause for concern and should be carefully examined and regulated,” said Boyce.
Two regulations to these products are being suggested by the attorneys general: The requirement of warning labels on the packaging to advise the consumer of the adverse health effects of using these products, and a child-resistant packaging mandate to ensure younger children can’t easily gain access to the product.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office believes that while these are important first steps, they will need to continue their efforts in the future.
“Educating and informing consumers is always an important step. Unfortunately there isn't one way to completely deter nicotine use, but we plan to continue working with the FDA on strong regulations,” said Boyce.
Assistant Attorney General Marilyn A. Kueper, who is the chief of Madigan’s Tobacco Enforcement Bureau, is overseeing this project for the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The attorneys general of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming and the Virgin Islands are also backing the proposed regulations on these products.