AGs across the nation demand stricter regulations for disposable e-cigarettes

Nationwide Attorney Generals seek stricter regulations to protect youth from nicotine addiction and health risks.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 8:30 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In August, the FDA issued warning letters to 15 online retailers for selling and distributing e-cigarette products that looked like children’s characters, school supplies, toys, and drinks.

A warning was not enough, as Attorneys General nationwide want to see more e-cigarette product regulations to ensure that children under 18 have a more challenging time getting their hands on them. South Dakota’s Attorney General is one of the leading four members of the bipartisan group for more regulations on disposable e-cigarettes.

Smoking e-cigarettes, better known as vaping, has been a controversial talking point throughout the US since its 2007 launch into the US marketplace. In 2020, the Federal and Drug Administrations put heavy restrictions on the production of various flavors for reusable vapes like Juul, leaving a loophole for disposable e-cigarettes.

“We’re asking them to take a look, especially at disposable e-cigarettes, at some of the marketing practices to our youth and the nicotine levels, and there’s a loophole in the way the FDA regulates; they regulate cartridges, but they do not regulate disposables,” explained South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley.

The lack of regulation for disposable e-cigarettes can lead to retailers selling vapes with cartoon characters on the box or enticing flavors that could pique the interest of children, potentially leading the youth to develop a nicotine addiction.

“Neurological people’s nerves are still growing, and they will end up with more addictive properties. So, anxiety can be worse; stress can be worse,” explained Monument Health family care physician Chris Robbins, M.D.

The constant use of e-cigarettes could potentially lead to developmental issues.

“There’s lung development and neurologic development there, absolutely. So, when you do damage, your lungs have the capacity to heal, grow, and expand, and you may think of that immediately if you are around lots of smokers; you may cough, and the next day running, you may feel it, but over time that is going to add up to some permanent damage,” explained Robbins.

Vaping could also lead to a worsening of symptoms if a pre-existing condition already exists.

“When you look at a Juul device versus a pack of cigarettes, you’re adding up a lot of nicotine there. So, that can damage the lungs; we’ll see asthma worsen, bronchitis worsen, COPD worsen; it’s not a benign nothing device; there is damage done,” explained Robbins.

In order to help deter children from getting a hold of a vape, regulating these products to limit the marketing and nicotine levels in each device is what Attorney General Jackley is pushing for.

“As South Dakota’s Attorney General, I felt this was important enough to protect our youth that I was one of the four lead attorneys general on the issue. It’s a bipartisan group of attorneys general, Republicans, and Democrats, finding ways to better protect our children,” explained Robbins.

Attorneys General from 30 states, the nation’s capital, and two US Territories have all signed the letter to urge the FDA to develop a strategic plan to protect the public health of children from child-friendly flavored disposable e-cigarettes.