Zoeller calls on FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, prohibit sales to minors


Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and 39 other attorneys general are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to place restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes.

attorney general stampIn a bipartisan letter, the attorneys general urged the FDA to take all available measures to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the Tobacco Control Act. E-cigarettes are battery operated products that heat liquid nicotine, derived from tobacco plants, into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

“Some smokers see e-cigarettes as a way to wean themselves off of other tobacco products, but the health effects of these popular alternatives have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated,” Zoeller said. “Nicotine is highly addictive and, if e-cigarettes are left unregulated, our state’s youth may use them as a gateway to smoking.”

State Attorneys General have fought for years to protect people from the dangers of tobacco products. In 1998, the attorneys general of 52 states and territories signed a landmark agreement with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States to recover billions of dollars in costs associated with smoking-related illnesses, and restrict cigarette advertising to prevent youth smoking.

Zoeller said unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes. Noting the growing use of e-cigarettes, and the growing prevalence of advertising, the letter highlights the need to protect youth from becoming addicted to nicotine through these new products.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 2011 to 2012, the percentages of youth who have tried or currently use e-cigarettes both roughly doubled. The survey estimates that nearly 1.8 million middle and high school students have tried e-cigarettes in 2012.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nicotine is highly addictive and has immediate bio-chemical effects on the brain and body at any dosage, and is toxic in high doses.

E-cigarette manufacturers are using marketing tactics similar to those big tobacco used in the last 50 to 100 years to attract new smokers. Celebrity endorsements, television advertising, cartoons, fruit flavors, attractive packaging and cheap prices all serve to encourage youth consumption of these dangerous products.

Additionally, some marketing claims that these products do not contain the same level of toxins and carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. These claims imply that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, when in fact nicotine is highly addictive, the health effects of e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied, and the ingredients are not regulated and may still contain carcinogens.


  1. First and foremost, I have been using an electronic nicotine inhaler (e-cigarette) for over 3 years now. I switched after 25 years of smoking and over a dozen attempts to quit smoking using the patches, gums, lozenges and medications, none of which worked long term for me. There were a few medications that I did not attempt to use due to their documented history of severe side effects.

    After one year of having switched from smoking cigarettes to using an (e-cigarette), my health had improved to the point that I no longer had to take blood pressure medication and my lung function had also improved to the point where I didn’t become short of breath during the simplest of activities. The amount of nicotine that I continue to use is no higher than the amount found in the nicotine patch, which the FDA has recently approved for long term use.

    Following you will find evidence from respected physicians and researchers that support the use of electronic nicotine inhalers (e-cigarettes) for adults who smoke regular cigarettes. And FYI, the (e-cigarette) vendors, manufacturers and adult users are all in support of banning the sell of these items from minors. We are however, against the banning of our many flavors since it just so happens that we adults prefer those many flavors over tobacco flavors. Flavors are not just for kids, we adults happen to like them too.

    Dr. Michael Siegel, Boston University School of Public Health

    Actually, the evidence suggests that electronic cigarettes have had a profound positive impact on the public’s health. Analyses of cigarette sales has suggested that because of smokers switching to electronic cigarettes, the sale of tobacco cigarettes is substantially down. This translates into an improvement in the public’s health: fewer deaths and diseases. That’s hardly a “public health hazard.”

    The FDA only found nitrosamines in eliquid at a maximum level of 8.2 billionth of a gram, which is at the same level as those found in FDA approved nicotine inhalers, and 14,000 times lower than those found in Marlborough cigarettes. Even then, these nitrosamines were only found in eliquid, not in the vapour. When an independent lab Analyze looked at the vapour of the electronic cigarette, they only found one, non-carcogenic nitrosamine. More importantly, the FDA tests failed to find ANY of the other 56 tobacco smoker carcinogens in the eliquid.

    Dr. Murray Laugesen, New Zealand’s Most Experienced Researcher on Smoking Policy and Cigarettes

    At first glance, yes e-cigarette users inhale vapor, not smoke. With smoking, you have to light up. With vaping, you aren’t lighting anything, and there is no smell of smoke. Cigarettes burn, e-cigarettes just create vapor with each puff.

    Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, Cardiology Researcher

    Indeed, researchers found several particles in nanometer size, that are able to penetrate deep into the lungs. The numbers they report show that e-cigarette produces 880 times less particles compared to conventional cigarettes.

    Paul Bergen, Former Research Associate at the Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta

    If you start with any of the flavourings and out of interest try a regular cigarette it will seem harsh and horrid in comparison. To take that point one step further, to remove or outlaw flavourings in e-cigarettes (or smokeless tobacco) would make migration more likely.

    Dr. Carl V. Phillips, Former Professor of Public Health

    Of course, the biggest lie is the “gateway” lie. You know that when prohibitionists start making claims about a gateway that they have given up on pretending that a behavior is a problem in itself. So they have to make up some reason for prohibiting it, so they claim that it leads to something that is a problem. There is never any evidence to support those claims, about anything, as far as I have ever observed.

    Dr. Igor Burstyn, Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health

    Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.

    Scott Ballin, Tobacco and Public Health Expert

    It isn’t the nicotine that causes the harm, but rather how the nicotine is delivered. Smoking is the biggest killer by far. Almost all noncombustible products including smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes are 90-percent-plus lower in risk. Nicotine is like caffeine in some ways. If we were to smoke the coffee bean, we’d have thousands of chemicals produced in the smoke. But the risks disappear when used in a noncombustible form. Tobacco, as a plant, could be made into a tea that would allow people to get their nicotine without the risks. E-cigarettes, lozenges, etc., are all non-combustible products that are significantly lower in risk.

    Dr. Gilbert Ross, Medical and Executive Director, American Council on Science and Health

    The components of e-cigarette vapor, of any significance, are water vapor with nicotine (usually), glycerine/vegetable flavoring, and propylene glycol (GRAS as per the FDA). A recent study by Prof. Igor Burstyn of Drexel Univ. School of Public Health showed the incredibly remote chance of e-cig vapor contributing to long-term health effects.

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