Senate Democrats call for regulations of e-cigarettes as youth use rises

Blumenthal, along with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), called on Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “redouble” efforts to keep young people from getting addicted to nicotine.

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“These new tobacco products demand greater action by Congress, oversight and regulation to ensure that we continue to reduce smoking and tobacco usage, regardless of its source, among children and all Americans,” Carper said.

Little research has been done on the health risks of e-cigarettes, but some consider them safer than traditional smoking since a vapor is released rather than smoke. But the senators warned that increased use of e-cigarettes among young people could increase the likelihood that they’ll start using conventional cigarettes to get their nicotine fix — although not all e-cigarettes release nicotine.

“The manufacturers of e-cigarettes aggressively market them, often with unproven claims that they are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes or can help smokers quit — underscoring the urgent need for greater research into these products,” said Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I am pleased the FDA has announced they will expand their jurisdiction to include e-cigarettes, and look forward to the release of proposed regulations that will establish a clear framework for the sale of e-cigarettes.”

The CDC report estimated that 1.78 million middle and high schools students have used e-cigarettes. The study also showed that more than 76 percent of the students who were current e-cigarette users said they also smoked conventional cigarettes.

“These e-cigarettes are a gateway to tobacco use by children and teens and should not be marketed to youth. This new CDC report disturbingly highlights how more teens are using these so-called tobacco replacement products,” Markey said. “This might be lucrative for the companies who manufacture e-cigarettes, but it is dangerous for the young people who become addicted to nicotine and suffer deadly consequences.”

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