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Dems: E-cigarette makers ‘prey’ on kids


Democratic lawmakers on Monday accused e-cigarette companies of marketing their products toward children.

The lawmakers released a new report finding that e-cigarette companies are targeting children by using candy flavors and promoting their products at rock concerts and through social media.

"For years, federal regulations prohibiting tobacco companies from targeting young people have helped to protect a new generation of smokers from getting hooked on nicotine," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. "Now, we must close this new gateway to addiction to protect our children."

Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined Durbin in calling for government regulations of e-cigarettes, along with Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

"E-cigarette makers are starting to prey on kids, just like the big tobacco companies," Waxman said. "With over a million youth now using e-cigarettes, [the Food and Drug Administration] needs to act without further delay to stop the companies from marketing their addictive products to children."

The Democrats' report, "Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth," surveyed eight e-cigarette companies. They say the report proves the Food and Drug Administration should do more to regulate these new nicotine products, such as banning sales to minors.

"I am deeply disturbed that e-cigarette companies are mimicking tactics that tobacco companies used in the past to glamorize smoking for youth," Rockefeller said. "No matter what profit may be involved with encouraging young people to use nicotine products, marketing e-cigarettes to kids should be absolutely off-limits."

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