TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The Food and Drug Administration proposed their first recommendations in regulating e-cigarettes. The FDA wants to limit their sale only to people who are 18 and older. Currently, the FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes. Smoking cessation experts tell News 10 if e-cigarettes continue to go unregulated, that will ruin 4 decades work to keeping tobacco out of the hands of minors. That’s why they support the FDA’s call to prevent minors from buying e-cigarettes.
“Since it’s not regulated by the FDA, they don’t have to submit any ingredient list or what is actually in the liquid nicotine,” said Christina Keller of the Vigo County Health Department.
That said, developers of e-cigarettes claim their products help those who are addicted to cigarettes to kick the habit. However, users of e-cigarettes inhale vaporized nicotine, the highly addictive drug found in tobacco. Also, the user mimics the hand to mouth habit developed while smoking. Most concerning is that e-cigarettes are finding their way into the hands… and mouths… of our youth.
“Nine out of ten adult tobacco users started using some type of tobacco products by the time they were 18 years of age,” said Libby Ray of Vigo County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.
From 2011 to 2012, the number of high schoolers, and even the number of middle schoolers, who use e-cigarettes increased in a staggering amount, doubling from one million to two million. That includes 10 percent of all Indiana high school youth. So what’s the draw for kids? Social media plays a part. One brand lights up with a blue tip when used in the presence of another e-cigarette of the same brand. And smoking cessation experts say how e-cigarettes are marketed is another huge part of the problem.
“We know the tobacco industry’s lucrative history of marketing towards kids. Even though they say they don’t, they definitely market towards kids,” said Carrie Bennett of Union Hospital.
That could be what the FDA targets next, while also addressing flavored e-cigarettes, which appeal to youth. But for now, smoking cessation experts agree limiting e-cigarettes to those 18 and older is a good start.
The Vigo County Health Department also told News 10 that local poison control centers have seen a spike in calls where children under five consumed the liquid nicotine and became very sick.