Last Monday a congressional report was released that urged the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating the marketing efforts of e-cigarette companies, especially those promoting their products to young people. The report was penned by Sen. Dick Durbin, Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Henry Waxman, and many other lawmakers who helped along the way. As often happens with new products, the government had a clumsy initial reaction.
For those of you who are unaware, e-cigarettes are battery powered cigarette shaped devices that heat up a liquid form of nicotine and create a vapor that is ingested via the lungs by the smoker. The FDA is preparing to set guidelines on the marketing of e-cigs and their production in the near future; until then it’s a lawless world where almost everything goes. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate a large portion of tobacco marketing and creation, but at this time it simply cannot ban nicotine or cigarettes completely.
But This Isn’t the First Time
It might not seem like it, but the FDA actually said that they were going to use its authority on electronic cigarettes back in 2011 but to date it hasn’t done anything officially. Though they’re taking a very long time to take action, at the very least they’ve created and published a report that found that the liquids used in e-cigs are the cause for a rapidly increasing number of phone calls made to poison control centers across the nation.
In reference to the actual congressional report – the authors found that 6 of the companies they spoke with spent over $59 million on the advertising and promotion of their electronic cigarettes last year. Along with that, the projected sales of e-cigs is approaching nearly $2 billion in 2013. The report also says that many of the companies that they reviewed are specifically using marketing strategies that are known to appeal to teenagers. In fact, many of the companies they surveyed utilize social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube which all have a very youth-oriented user base. The authors of the report say that if the FDA continues to put off regulation that e-cigs and similar products are going to continue to harm America’s youth.