Federal authorities are still slowly pacing around the issue of e-cigarette regulations, so state attorneys general have started their own campaigns against the advertising and selling e-the supposedly healthier cigarettes to minors.

Plenty of attorneys general have joined the cause, including those from Indiana, California, New York, and Ohio, and they are not shy to put legal pressure – local and state laws they have helped create – on the e-cigarette industry, starting from small vape shops to major tobacco companies like Reynolds American Inc. and Altria Group.

So far, the campaign mostly had to do with threats to sue those who don’t respect the laws in an attempt of building the companies’ sense of responsibility, but some lawsuits have also been filed.

Attorneys general have picked it up after a government report showed that in 2014 e-cigarette use has tripled among teens, exceeding the popularity that tobacco had among youngsters. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller explained the campaign’s target is preventing another generation from being nicotine-addicted.

Benefits and health risks of e-cigarettes are yet to be studied, which has prompted several AGs to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish tougher regulation on use and selling practices.

This request was filed a year ago, prompting the agency to propose in April 2014 that e-cigarettes be banned from being sold to individuals under the age of 18. The problem is that the FDA did not mention anything about online sales or teenager-targeted advertising.

According to public health advocates, all of these areas that remained unregulated are factors in making the electronic devices more attractive to youngsters.

Because the FDA proposal is still under review, vaping is ramping up among youths in states that haven’t addressed the issue by passing laws to ban it. The agency is expected to give a final answer on the matter of e-cigarette regulations later this summer, but we are far from having any federal rules go into effect.

Selling e-cigarettes to minors has been banned in 46 states so far. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that 12 of those also have laws that require manufacturers to use child-proof packaging for e-cigarettes.

Until the FDA finally makes a move in this direction, AGs are using whatever laws they can to put pressure on companies which target teens in their e-cigarette advertising – whether those laws are directly tied to e-cigarettes or not.
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