Delaware legislation targets electronic cigarettes

In an effort to keep Delaware youth from tobacco substitutes like electronic cigarettes, the state is now trying to ban minors from purchasing such products.

On Wednesday, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, the Delaware Division of Public Health as well as State Rep. Deborah Hudson and Sen. Patricia Blevins announced legislation prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to underage teens.

“The unregulated product is being marketed to minors. Some companies sell the vapor device with flavors of liquid nicotine in the cartridge, further appealing to our youth,” said Rep. Hudson, R-Fairthorne. She says it is currently legal for a 14-year-old to buy an e-cigarette.

“By banning the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes to minors, we can protect our youth from this addictive substance. It’s time we took this step,” said Sen. Blevins, D-Elsmere.

To date, more than two-dozen states prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. However, statistics show that since 2008, sales of electronic-cigarettes have doubled and they continue to grow among youth. A recent study by the National Youth Tobacco Survey reveals that an estimated 1.8 million young people reportedly tried e-cigarettes in 2012.

When the study took a look at Delaware students, it showed e-cigarette users are far more likely to continue smoking cigarettes than non e-cigarette users.

“E-cigarettes are addictive and contain known toxin and carcinogens. We need to send a message that there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ tobacco product,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay of the Delaware Division of Public Health.

According to the FDA which conducted a study in 2009, there are elements of hazardous compounds found in electronic cigarettes similar to elements found in antifreeze. Last year, Biden along with 41 other Attorneys General put pressure on the FDA to test and regulate e-cigarettes.

“The increase in the number of children who are using electronic cigarettes is concerning and we need to act,” said Biden.

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