The growing popularity of e-cigarettes with teenagers has U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) calling for stricter regulations. The 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey found more school and high school students are using e-cigarettes over traditional cigarettes, and the percentage of teens using it has tripled in one year. Durbin blames it on tobacco companies marketing e-cigarettes to children, despite the industry’s denials.
“How could they say that with a straight face when you read the flavors? Just read the flavors: Bubblicious? Is that something adults are looking for? I don’t think so. Kids are, and they know that.” Durbin said.
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Durbin says the tobacco industry is acting much like it did when denying the health effects of traditional cigarettes decades ago.
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed to extend its authority over e-cigarettes, but hasn’t finalized any rules, which Durbin says leaves e-cigarettes unregulated. The FDA rules would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 and include health warnings on packaging like traditional cigarettes.
Durbin wants to go even further, imposing restrictions on marketing to minors, eliminating online sales, and ending the use of candy flavorings for e-cigarettes.