Report: E-cig use among kids has tripled
The number of kids who have never smoked a traditional cigarette, but have used an electronic cigarette tripled between 2011 and 2013, according to a new report released on Aug. 25 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There was a sense that this was increasing among youth," said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton Square) who co-sponsored a measure urging the federal government to regulate electronic smoking devices. "I don't think anyone realized the crisis that's involved here. These are kids that are becoming addicted to nicotine through the use of e-cigarettes for the first time."
In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed regulations that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, require health warning labels, require all new products to be registered with the agency and bar companies from claiming their products are safer than tobacco products.
"These are the bare minimum, common sense regulations that I think everybody would agree with including many of those that use these products. It's very frustrating. We have the proposed rules. The comment period has finished. There's no reason for them not to act now," Benson said.
The e-cigarette industry's target audience is not minors, it is adults who are looking to quit smoking said Rich Levesque, vice president of public affairs at MWW Group, which is representing the New Jersey Vapor Retailers Coalition.
"E-cigarettes are marketed and sold to the adult population. They are not for consumption by minors. We support any measures that help ensure minors are not exposed to nicotine-related products," Levesque said.
The CDC report has gotten the attention of at least one member of New Jersey's congressional delegation.
"I was deeply disturbed after I read the findings of a study by the CDC, which showed a huge spike in the number of middle and high school students with no history of tobacco usage who reported using e-cigarettes," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone in an emailed statement Monday. "I hope this study sends a strong message to the FDA that they must finalize their proposed regulations regarding the manufacturing and sale of e-cigarettes, and that marketing restrictions must be included to protect young people from these potentially dangerous products."