Nicotine’s Cool Rebirth


In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed, giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the marketing, manufacturing and sale of tobacco products.  This law included a ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes and cracked down on tobacco marketing and sales to children.  However, this law does not cover electronic cigarettes.

Over the last few years, electronic cigarettes sales have increased.  Annual sales are expected to reach $1.7 billion by the end of the year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of electronic cigarettes has more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students between 2011-2012.  Electronic cigarette companies are using marketing techniques such as celebrity endorsements, use of candy and fruit flavors, and bold print ads to attract children and adolescents.  These tactics are similar to how tobacco companies used to make cigarettes appear cool and glamorous.

Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance which can cause adverse health problems, such as increased cardiovascular risks.  Despite ongoing concerns that children and adolescents will become hooked on nicotine, only a few states have passed laws prohibiting the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors.  A recent study in JAMA Pediatrics showed that teenagers who have tried electronic cigarettes are six times more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes.  If you feel that electronic cigarettes should be regulated, please email your senator urging him/her to ensure that the FDA moves forward in regulating electronic cigarettes.


2 Responses to “Nicotine’s Cool Rebirth”

  1. mnotrica Says:

    This is an interesting viewpoint on electronic cigarettes. I never really looked at the issue of the potential increase in addiction caused by e-cigarettes. In fact I had only considered the benefits of them for decreasing on the amount of smoke inhaled by smokers and the decrease in environmental smoke. I also thought that they were good for decreasing a cigarette addiction as there are some articles that say that they are as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit – See But you raise some very interesting points that had completely changed my perspective. Until there is clearer evidence on the safety of these products, the sale to minors should not only be regulated by the states but the FDA should also be involved in determining the safety of the product, much as they were with the approval of the nicotine patches. The FDA has issued a warning about the possible carcinogenic effects of the e-cigarettes and have submitted a proposed new rule to allow for regulation of all e-cigarette products – See This is an additional important step in controlling the overall public health impact of these products.

    Thank you for your interesting look at this topic. There are not only potential public health benefits of e-cigarettes but also serious public health risks that I had completely overlooked!

  2. reetuverma11 Says:

    The ill effects of electronic cigarettes have recently been a hot topic of discussion. What surprises me is that such harmful products are not intensively checked for safety and full effects before they are allowed to be marketed to the population. I believe the regulatory agencies (most appropriately FDA) need to assess the full effects of such products before authorizing them.
    An important method of restricting the use of electronic cigarettes is to treat them at par with cigarettes and other tobacco products and levy uniformly higher taxation on all of them. The increase in prices due to uniform taxation will deter the adolescents (especially beginners) from buying any of the products as they will not be able to switch to cheaper legal alternatives of nicotine and will reduce the smoking and addiction rates among them. This has been exemplified by the recent increases in cigarette taxes across several states, where smoking rates have been significantly brought down. One such example of success is New York. The reduction in smoking rates in New York can be viewed at:
    Due to increased taxation, there are fears of increase in tax avoidance by the smokers which may lead to, smuggling from the states where taxes are low and increased use of contraband (illegal) cigarettes. However, several policing options can be employed to keep these in check. The claims in reduction in state revenue from cigarettes due to tax avoidance have also been proved wrong by recent researches done in the states which have increased the tax rates on nicotine products significantly.

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