Posted at: 09/24/2013 11:05 PM
Updated at: 09/24/2013 11:12 PM
By: John Doetkott
MN and IA Among 40 States Urging FDA to Regulate E-Cigs
(ABC 6 News) -- In 2013 alone, sales for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are expected to reach nearly $1.7 billion.
And on Tuesday, health officials from across the country came together in calling the devices dangerous, particularly for young people.
On Tuesday, a letter signed by 40 state attorneys general, including those from Minnesota and Iowa, was sent to the head of the federal Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to regulate e-cigs the same way as regular cigarettes.
Currently, there are no federal age restrictions on the sale of e-cigs, and although Minnesota has banned stores from selling the devices to minors, kids can still buy them online with little to no age verification.
New research shows 1 in 10 high school students have tried e-cigs, and what's more, the attorneys general say it's because manufacturers are targeting children.
The letter sent to the FDA reads, "E-cigarettes contain fruit and candy flavors -- such as cherry, chocolate, gummy bear, and bubble gum -- that are appealing to youth. The FDA has banned such flavors from cigarettes and should take the same action regarding e-cigarettes."
ABC 6 searched and found that not only are some manufacturers using flavors, but cartoons as well, with one website even offering a game that could be played to earn coupons.
Such practices have long been banned by the FDA in regards to regular cigarettes, and the attorneys general say they simply want to see the same safeguards put in place for the new products.
FDA officials have stated they intend to enact some regulations for e-cigs by the end of October, but with a history of drawn out testing protocols, it's clear from their letter that health officials are concerned the agency won't meet that deadline.