If your kids — of whatever age — are itching for a cigarette, laws are in place in Virginia and across the country to prevent the little ones from buying them.
Not so with e-cigarettes. No federal restrictions are in place limiting the sale of the electronic devices, which resemble traditional cigarettes but use batteries to heat nicotine-laced liquid, producing a vapor that is inhaled.
Now, 40 attorneys general across the country have signed a letter asking federal regulators to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and stop e-cigarette companies from marketing to youths, reports The Boston Globe.
One attorney general who did not sign the letter: Virginia's Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said the attorney general has a broad policy of not signing onto letters of support for federal regulations that are not finalized and could still be amended.
"Previously, regulations have been amended against our wishes, yet our original endorsement was used to help pass the very legislation we were opposed to," he said in an email. "This policy has been applied irrespective of whether we support or oppose the underlying federal bill or regulation; it’s not a reflection of how we feel about the issue."
While Maryland and other states prohibit the selling of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, Virginia appears to have no such explicit law against it — though the use of the devices in restaurants and other indoor places is prohibited just like traditional smokes.
In the letter from the attorneys general, the FDA is asked to “move quickly to ensure that all tobacco products are tested and regulated to ensure that companies do not continue to sell or advertise to our nation’s youth.”
Big tobacco companies have recently entered the e-cigarette market, and e-cigarette sales are expected to reach $1.7 billion this year, reported The Globe.
What do you think? Should the federal government ban e-cigarette sales to minors and should e-cigarette companies not market to youths? Let us know in the comments section below.