Congresswoman Looks to Combat E-Cigarettes’ Marketing to Minors

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, announced new proposed legislation regulating electronic cigarettes at a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital this morning.

If Congress passes it, the Stop Selling and Marketing to our Kids E-Cigarettes Act, known as the SMOKE Act, will extend U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations against marketing cigarettes to children to e-cigarettes.

“With flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy and chocolate cake, our kids are literally vaping these things up,” Speier said in a news release. “With ads using sex and sex appeal, our teens are lusting after these objects. It’s time to regulate these products and protect our children.”

Speier’s legislation is part of a growing movement to regulate e-cigarettes similarly to regular cigarettes.

In San Francisco, people can only smoke e-cigarettes in locations where regular cigarette smoking is allowed, under new city legislation passed in March.

“The new law is a common sense policy for San Francisco that regulates the smoking of e-cigarettes in the same way that cigarettes are already regulated,” San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the bill, said in a news release today.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors also took steps in March to ban e-cigarette use and sales in places where cigarettes are already banned.

Health officials say further regulation is necessary to prevent e-cigarettes from being dangerously marketed to children and teens.

“These facts are indisputable: nicotine is addictive, e-cigarettes are unregulated nicotine delivery devices and the e-cigarette industry is targeting our youth,” Dr. Tomas Aragon, director of the Population Health Division at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said in the release.

The California Poison Control System has observed an increase in poisonings and burnings caused by e-cigarettes, including 207 cases of e-cigarette-related poisoning in the past 17 months, according to Dr. Neal Benowitz with the San Francisco division of the state Poison Control System.

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, an e-cigarette industry group based in Georgia, supports efforts to prevent marketing to minors.

“We’ve been against that since day one,” said CFO Tom Kiklas, who said his group has been active on the issue.

Speier will introduce the SMOKE Act in Congress on Monday.

Drew Himmelstein, Bay City News

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  • iatros78

    Nicotine is a highly-addictive drug. Why these companies are allowed to produce these e-cigarettes and advertise them on TV and create flavorings to appeal to children is beyond me. It would be one thing to offer these devices to current smokers (if they are proven to help people quit smoking and are safe to use- neither which current science has confirmed). It is quite another to have these devices massively advertised to create the largest possible market for them.

    • DJ

      Hmm, nicotine is addictive in combustible cigarettes not so much in ECig liquid, smoke cessation patches, gums and inhalers. Also not addictive in tomatoes,egg plants and 100 other vegetables that have nicotine in them. Nicotine in E-liquids is as addictive as caffeine (ban coffee, sodas and sports drinks). They make them and advertise them to adults who smoke. This hysteria about kids and flavors is bogus, adults like flavors as well. How about all those liquors (Vodka) that have all those fruit/candy flavors should they be banned? Recent CDC survey showed the highest decrease in teen smoking in 22 years and has decreased the past 3 years. Many scientific studies show that ECigs can save smokers lives yet Politicians seem to ignore the real 500,000 deaths a year associated with smoking and dwell on the fairy tale kids might vape and go to real cigarettes which has been debunked. .

  • Cascadia Vape

    I’m not completely against regulation as long as it’s implemented intelligently and based on scientific data, but there still seems to be widespread misperceptions about the differences between e-cigs and tobacco cigarettes. For more factual information about e-cigs and vapes, read this FAQ: