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Flavorings in electronic cigarettes are hazardous to very young children

HealthDay News published a report by Randy Dotinga on May 9, 2016 noting the dangers of the nicotine in the liquid “juice” of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). The title of the article is “E-Cigarette Poisonings Skyrocket Among Young Kids: Study”. The study showed that children under six were at the greatest risk. The study of the dangers of nicotine in e-cig liquids for small children was led by Gary Smith, director of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. The center is located in Columbus, OH. Smith had this to say about the conclusions of the study.

If this were an infectious disease, this would be headlines across the country . He noted that the number of e-cigarette exposures in kids jumped 1,500 percent from 2012 to 2015. E-cigarettes and liquid nicotine can cause serious poisoning, and even death, among young children. Like other dangerous poisons, they should be kept out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked location.

The FDA has taken responsibility for controlling all forms of tobacco, including e-cigs, cigars, hookahs, and e-cig liquids. The FDA has not extended their control of e-cig juice to eliminate the flavorings in e-cigs, which has been done for normal tobacco cigarettes. The flavorings in e-cigs are directed towards children in middle school and high school. It is these flavorings that also attract babies and primary school children. Flavor categories include tobacco, menthol, fruits, desserts, coffees, and cigars from one supplier. Tobacco cigarettes are prohibited from all flavorings except tobacco and menthol since 2009. The exception of menthol from the prohibited flavors list for cigarettes is a result of direct lobbying by the tobacco industry on the FDA. FDA studies indicate that menthol is a flavoring agent, and the FDA has still failed to eliminate flavoring agents from e-cigs.

When the FDA issued the new regulations on e-cigs and other forms of nicotine delivery, it said that more research was needed to determine the dangers of these products. This is a stalling tactic. There is absolutely no scientific ambiguity that nicotine is a poison, causes cancers of the kidney, liver and bladder, and contributes to lung and heart disease by constricting the vascular system. The Public Health Law Center has concluded that the flavorings are an attempt to create a new generation of tobacco users.

Studies show that flavored tobacco products appeal to youth, who are an enticing target market for the tobacco industry. The younger individuals are when they begin to use tobacco, the more likely they will become addicted to nicotine. For example, among adults who smoke, 68 percent began smoking regularly at age 18 or younger.

Tobacco users (particularly youth) often mistakenly assume that flavored tobacco products are safer than other tobacco products.

There needs to be an acceleration of the regulation to eliminate all flavorings in e-cigs that contain nicotine, and a prohibition of e-cig advertising that is as stringent as for tobacco cigarettes. The labeling of e-cigs should include a warning that smoking e-cigs can lead to addiction to nicotine and a substantial health risk due to the effects of nicotine.

The director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products is Mitch Zeller, J.D. E-mails should be directed to, attention Mitch Zeller, Director. The phone number is 1-877-287-1373 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. More information about the Center for Tobacco Products is available on the internet. Direct inputs to the director’s office will influence the timing of decisions to regulate e-cig flavors to decrease the appeal of the e-cig liquids to children and young adults.

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