California health officials launch campaign against ‘vaping’ is the headline today, Jan. 29, 2015, in the Sacramento Bee. The California public health officials want electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) to be treated like any other tobacco product with regard to sales to minors, advertising and public health warnings. The article was written by Laura Rosenhall and Ellen Garrison.
Ron Chapman, director of the California department of public health concisely stated the issue of e-cigs as far as California is concerned.
From all the evidence we have so far, e-cigarettes are not as harmful as conventional cigarettes, but e-cigarettes are not harmless. They are not safe.
Director Chapman’s conclusions are backed by scientific studies. E-cigs deliver nicotine, and nicotine is highly addictive and causes numerous diseases. See prior articles that discuss the health issues for e-cigs and the e-cig focus on developing young users through flavorings and advertising specifically targeting middle and high school students. There are also studies that show that e-cigs are more likely to create new addicts than help conventional smokers stop smoking.
E-cigs are being flavored to appeal to people that under 30, which is the lowest usage category for conventional cigarettes, and the highest age group usage category for new e-cigs users. The article by Rosenhall and Garrison is illustrated with a picture of a vaping shop salesman exhaling a cloud of e-cig vapor. The article goes on to discuss some of the favorite e-cig flavors being offered.
If there is any doubt that the e-cig liquids are tailored to appeal to minors, go to the Crazy Vapors website and look at the list of choices for flavors. Listed flavors include Almond Chocolate Bar, Watermelon, Gingerbread, and Fudge Brownie. There are also flavors that are likely appeal to conventional cigarette smokers, including Cuban Cigar, Brandy, and B-mix Menthol. The target group for Dragon’s Blood and Purple People Eater is hard to imagine.
Director Chapman also had this to say about the role of the FDA in regulating e-cigs, and the expected time for the new FDA rules to go into effect.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations for e-cigarettes that would prohibit companies from giving out free samples, require a nicotine health warning statement on packaging and in advertisements, and require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients. But it could take years before the rules are finalized, putting more onus on states to act.
There needs to be immediate action by the FDA, state and local governments to curtail advertising of e-cigs to minors, providing free samples, and treating e-cigs as being different from conventional cigarettes when it comes to these laws. Taxing e-cigs at the same rates as conventional cigarettes will pay for education of the public to the dangers of e-cigs, and increase the price to discourage growth of e-cig users.