Below is a letter from state Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) addressed to Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, MD.
Dear Commissioner Hamburg,
I write to you today regarding my concern for our nation’s youth in respect to the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes. I urge you to follow through with your commitment to release a ruling on electronic cigarettes by the end of the month dictating more suitable product standards, advertisement restrictions, and a ban on sales to minors.
As you know, according to findings from the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Survey electronic cigarette use is increasing at an alarming rate among children. Particularly worrisome is the rate at which minors, who have never smoked a traditional cigarette, are experimenting with the product. The exact long term effects of this product are not yet known, but there are few who would champion the product as a healthy habit for children to engage in.
The implications have not slowed some electronic cigarette retailers from marketing their products to minors. Advertisements can be seen in shopping malls, on television, and the streets students use to walk to school. Moreover, electronic cigarettes are sold in a variety of candied flavors including chocolate and fireball increasing their appeal to children.
Earlier this month, I introduced legislation in the Michigan State House of Representatives that would prohibit electronic cigarettes from being sold to minors. My bill is a stop gap measure because of the lack of action on the federal level. In the end, however, it is my opinion that this issue is best handled by your administration. Thus, I urge you to enact regulation that would establish clear product standards and halt sales to minors.
Michigan State Representative