INDIANAPOLIS | The attorneys general of Indiana and Illinois have joined their colleagues from 38 other states in asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to strictly regulate electronic cigarettes.
In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Hoosier Republican Greg Zoeller and Illinois Democrat Lisa Madigan wrote that strong federal action is needed to dispel the myth that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes and to halt the marketing of e-cigarettes to minors.
"To help prevent children from using tobacco products, the Tobacco Control Act imposed restrictions on advertising and marketing to youth," they wrote. "These restrictions should be applied to e-cigarettes, as well, to safeguard children from nicotine addiction and other potential health effects of e-cigarettes."
E-cigarettes are battery-powered tubes that heat liquid nicotine, derived from tobacco plants, into a vapor that often is mixed with flavors and other chemicals before being inhaled.
U.S. sales of e-cigarettes have doubled every year since 2008 and are on track to top $1.7 billion this year.
There are no federal age or marketing restrictions on e-cigarettes as there are on traditional cigarettes, though recently enacted state laws in Indiana and Illinois bar the sale of e-cigarettes to people under age 18.
The FDA is expected to propose e-cigarette regulations by Oct. 31.