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Dangerous and Bubblegum Flavored: SNJPC Backs FDA E-Cigarette Regulations

The FDA recently proposed new regulations that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors, add warning labels on packages and require approval of new products.

Cathy Butler, Assistant Director of Tobacco Control Initiatives at Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative supports these steps to protect consumers as well as further investigation into the health effects of e-cigarettes. “People have a misperception that they’re harmless. FDA regulations will help us determine actual risk as opposed to advertised promises and better educate the public.”

“Vaping,” as some call it, uses electronic devices to heat liquid nicotine which produces an odorless vapor inhaled by the user. Some contend that e-cigarettes cause little or no harm because they lack the chemicals and toxins found in tobacco cigarettes. Butler says it’s impossible to verify such safety claims because e-cigarette companies are not required to specify product ingredients. The FDA regulations may change this.

Quitting device or gateway to smoking?

Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes as a way to “quit”. Butler advises against this strategy. “They’re not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device. We don’t know what’s in them or how to correctly use them as a cessation device.” Butler recommends consulting a physician or recognized cessation authority about evidence-based techniques with a proven track record.

Another concern is that e-cigarettes entice new smokers. Butler says, “People who never smoked a cigarette will use e-cigarettes because they think they’re safe. Plus, they’re new, fashionable and flavored." With cool designs and candy-like flavors, many health advocates believe that the e-cigarette industry is targeting youth. Besides getting them hooked on nicotine, e-cigarettes could lead to use of tobacco cigarettes.

Regulations

New Jersey was the first state to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places when it added them to the NJ Smokefree Air Act. The law also prohibits sales of e-cigarettes to minors. However, Butler says, many New Jersey residents and businesses are unaware of this fact so the use and sale of e-cigarettes continues with few constraints.

There is also growing attention to the devices’ use of liquid nicotine which can be toxic and if improperly used, deadly. The American Association of Poison Control Centers recently issued a warning about liquid nicotine in response to a rise in accidental poisonings, especially in children.

Learn more about the FDA’s proposed regulations

Review current electronic smoking device restrictions.

Read about the dangers of liquid nicotine.

Are you pregnant or a new mom and trying to quit smoking? Visit the Mom’s Quit Connection to learn more about our free services for New Jersey residents.

Any New Jersey resident interested in quitting smoking can call the NJ Quitline,a free telephone-counseling service. Call 1-866-NJSTOPS (1-866-657-8677) for assistance.

Additional resources for New Jersey tobacco control can be found at http://www.tobaccofreenj.com/

MQC is a program of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative and is funded by the NJ Department of Health—Office of Tobacco Control.