The public health apparatus is lumbering along on regulating e-cigarettes, but parents and teens are out in front on this one.
Getting teens and parents to agree on something can be akin to herding cats. But when it comes to electronic cigarettes, the majority of both groups agree that vaping needs to be restricted.
According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health more than 90 percent of both adults and teens think e-cigarettes should have health warnings similar to the warnings on traditional cigarettes.
They also agree that e-cigarettes, where a nicotine-based liquid is vaporized and inhaled through an electronic cigarette, should be taxed like regular cigarettes, restricted in public spaces and that candy and fruit flavored e-cigarettes should be banned.
“Just as we are seeing declines in smoking of conventional cigarettes, there has been rapid growth in use of electronic cigarettes among youth,” said Matthew Davis, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan, in a press release. “Our poll indicates that both parents and teens agree that e-cigarettes pose several concerns.”
Although traditional cigarette use among middle school and high school students has dipped to record lows, e-cig use tripled from 2013 to 2014.
“Some people may be surprised that teenagers’ views are remarkably consistent with what parents think about e-cigarettes,” Davis said. “The strong level of agreement between parents and teens suggests that both groups are concerned about the health hazards of e-cigarettes.” All states except Michigan and Pennsylvania restrict e-cig sales to minors, but other than that, vaporizers are for the most part unregulated.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco or snuf). The FDA recently proposed that its regulatory authority for tobacco products be expanded to include electronic cigarettes, as well as cigars, pipe tobacco, and hookah tobacco or specific dissolvables that are not smokeless tobacco and gels. The FDA submitted its proposal to White House staff in October. It could be 90 days before the FDA hears back.
“Once the proposed rule becomes final, FDA will be able to use powerful regulatory tools, such as age restrictions and rigorous scientific review of new tobacco products and claims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death,” the FDA said.
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