“After decades spent working to curb youth tobacco use and the cigarette advertising targeted at children, we must remain vigilant for new attempts to get kids hooked on nicotine products,” said U.S. Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY).
On Thursday, March 27, Bishop along with U.S. Representatives Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act, a bill that would ban the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens.
“Although the electronic cigarettes that are being marketed may not contain tobacco, they contain many of the other harmful substances found in cigarettes – including nicotine,” noted Representative Bishop. “We cannot allow these products to be marketed towards children.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.8 million middle and high school students nationwide have tested out e-cigarettes, and over 75 percent have also smoked traditional cigarettes. Despite serious health concerns, e-cigarettes are unregulated at the moment. The number of children and teens experimenting with cigarettes is increasing dramatically. From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes more than doubled.
“Having actively worked on smoking prevention and cessation throughout my career and in my kids’ classrooms, I am very concerned about the widespread marketing of e-cigarettes to children,” said Representative Esty. “Nicotine, a highly addictive drug, has serious impacts on children and adolescent brain development.”
Some e-cigarette companies like Blu Cigs rely on the “cool” factor for marketing. The brand is endorsed by Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy, and on their Facebook page, they even go as far as claiming that by having a Blu vap the woman smoking the e-cig was transformed into an model.