E-cig marketing bill upsets some

Sunday, March 2, 2014 10:01 PM
Last updated Monday, March 3, 2014 12:17 AM
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Logan Collier started smoking when he turned 18, a habit he picked up bumming Marlboro Reds and Camel Filters from friends in Augusta.

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Logan Collier, an avid Augusta smoker since he was 18, blows smoke rings at Victorious Vapors off Bobby Jones Expressway.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Logan Collier, an avid Augusta smoker since he was 18, blows smoke rings at Victorious Vapors off Bobby Jones Expressway.

He continued for about a year, but not long after his freshman year in college, he tried an electronic cigarette, or e-cig, in search of a less dirty way to satisfy his nicotine cravings during work.

Although the experience was somewhat unsatisfying at first and sent him scrambling for a pack of Marlboro Reds, he gave the look-alike cigarette product a second shot.

Collier said he hasn’t smoked a tobacco cigarette since.

“Nothing is 100 percent,” Collier, 21, said of e-cigs, which delivers nicotine without burning tobacco and produces a vapor, not smoke. “You still get cravings, but it does help you quit smoking.”

Stories such as Collier’s, who once smoked a pack every two days, could soon change.

Five Democratic senators introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act last month to “prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens,” according to a press release from the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Though the text of the bill has not been released, Boxer’s staff said in an e-mail that the legislation defines a child as “an individual who is under the age of 18 years.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and, if passed, would permit the Federal Trade Commission to determine what constitutes marketing e-cigarettes to children and allow the agency to work with state attorney generals to enforce the law.

“We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” Boxer said. “This bill will help protect our children from an industry that profits from addiction.”

Once a curiosity at mall kiosks and flea markets, e-cigs are popping up on tobacco shelves, in retail shops and at military exchanges, which began carrying the battery-powered devices last June that simulate traditional cigarettes by converting nicotine-filled liquid cartridges into an inhalable vapor.

Currently, the industry is not subject to federal laws and regulations that apply to traditional cigarettes, including a ban on marketing to youth.

Although e-cigarettes can be legally sold to children and are not subject to age verification laws, many Augusta retailers say they already check IDs and restrict sales to people who are 18 and older.

Scotty Wolkow, owner of Victorious Vapors on Bobby Jones Expressway, said he is supportive of legislation that would regulate electronic cigarette marketing on the same level as traditional tobacco products.

He said, however, his only problem with the bill is its sponsors labeling e-cigs as a “deplorable,” “troubling” and possibly fatal industry that’s attempting to establish a new generation of nicotine addicts.

“They are trying to put a different spin on it,” he said. “That’s not what we are doing. We are trying to help people quit smoking.”

IN THE PAST YEAR, Wolkow said his clientele has quadrupled, increasing from 4,000 customers to more than 17,000. He estimates 80 percent of his sales come from military, college and adult smokers 21 years of age and older looking for a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Collier is one of those customers.

After a year of using e-cigs off and on, Collier is down to vaping 12 milligrams of nicotine. He started at 25 and is expecting to make it to zero, and possibly even quit e-cigs, by next year.

“I don’t want to depend on it forever,” he said.

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they tried e-cigarettes in 2012, and a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the percentage of high school students who had tried them had more than doubled in just one year. More than 76 percent of those users said they also smoked conventional cigarettes.

Though Collier conceded the lack of information available on the health effects of e-cigs does concern him, he said legislation prohibiting marketing to older teens might not be completely necessary.

“As far as we know e-cigs are very healthy, a lot more than cigarettes,” he said. “Getting kids into it could be much better for them.”

THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS of using electronic cigarettes are not yet clear.

The Food and Drug Administration has looked into the product for almost five years, but has only warned that consumers “currently have no way of knowing” if e-cigs are safe for their intended use, or how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled.

Despite claims from some e-cig makers that they do not market their products to children, some Senators say manufacturers have adopted marketing practices similar to those long used by the tobacco industry to market regular cigarettes to youth – including flavoring their products in candy or fruit flavors that appeal to children, and using marketing materials featuring cartoon characters reminiscent of those used to market traditional cigarettes to children in previous decades.

“When it comes to the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens, it’s Joe Camel all over again,” said Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “It is troubling that manufacturers of e-cigarettes – some of whom also make traditional cigarettes – are attempting to establish a new generation of nicotine addicts through aggressive marketing that often uses cartoons and sponsorship of music festivals and sporting events.”

While the bill has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the American Heart and Lung associations, Wolkow said success of the bill will come down to enforcement.

“If young teens are able to get it on the Internet, then there is no stopping them,” Wolkow said.

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bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 03/04/14 - 01:48 am
4
3
Politicians are so ignorant

Politicians are so ignorant to actually think they have reduced underage smoking. No the jacking up of prices per pack have did that. I smoked for 20 years and after using an e- cigarette I quit cold turkey after two months.

dichotomy
30376
Points
dichotomy 03/03/14 - 12:24 am
6
2
Protect children my hind end.

Protect children my hind end. What is really going on is that they have to get some laws on the books to make something sound evil and dangerous BEFORE they can start beating the drum for a SIN TAX. They are missing the revenue from cigarette sales. This is the old "quit smoking, quit smoking........oh crap...don't quit smoking...we need the money".

There is NO evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful so their only approach is the "it's for the children" laws. Just another example of lawmakers making up laws about something they know nothing about and have no evidence to back up their actions.

oldredneckman96
4903
Points
oldredneckman96 03/03/14 - 02:26 am
5
2
Debunking e-ciggs
Unpublished

E-ciggs are not sold as a tool to reduce smoking or the FDA would regulate them as a medical device, sort of like the problem with “medical pot” and other fakes hoisted on the American public. The hype surrounding these nicotine delivery devices is sponsored by the makers back door style to get around regulation. The internet has hundreds of post by paid spokesmen claiming every miracle known to man for these pipes. The most ridiculous ones claim that the polypropylene and nicotine vaporized in these pipes magically converts to a water vapor with not a trace of nicotine when exhaled! We have worked for years to move tobacco products out of the public and this end run must be contained or you will soon be setting in an office with inconsiderate smokers “vaping” all around you. You will have red eyes, a cough and smelly clothes to go home with.

Dixieman
12822
Points
Dixieman 03/03/14 - 03:30 am
6
3
Classic illustration

of dumb, unnecessary regulation and the Law of Unintended Consequences, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences. Beneficial product helps people and does NOT need any regulation!!! No secondhand smoke from them.

Bodhisattva
5566
Points
Bodhisattva 03/03/14 - 06:11 am
5
3
Anyone believe the tobacco

Anyone believe the tobacco companies aren't the ones pushing for regulating ecigs to death? Along with the traditional anti-smoking Nazis, of course. Personally, I'd rather they kill the perfume and cologne industry. Other than some cigars, tobacco products don't bother me that much, and pipe tobacco actually smells pretty good. Ecigs, bother me NOT AT ALL. Perfume and cologne, there's the problem.

pupmasterpm3
5
Points
pupmasterpm3 03/03/14 - 10:52 am
3
2
No one under the legal

No one under the legal smoking age should ever use an electronic cigarette. Adults that do not smoke should not use an electronic cigarette. I was a smoker for 27 years. I made many attempts to quit during that time. I used the Nicotine patch, the Nicotine gum, the Nicotine lozenge, and will power. On December 17, 2010 I purchased an electronic cigarette and I have been a non smoker since that very first puff. My health has improved as well. I no longer suffer from sinus infections, ear infections or the constant chest congestion I became used to having. I can climb many flights of stairs without getting winded as well. I believe if it were not for the electronic cigarette, I would have been a smoker for the rest of my life. I have seen 100’s of people in my own community switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes with the same results.
As to the idea that they are marketed to kids because of the colors and flavors and only kids would want that, I would direct you to the alcohol isle at most super markets where you can purchase birthday cake vodka. I would also send you to the Apple store where you can buy your new Iphone in many vibrant colors. Then there are the flavored coffee creamers like White Chocolate Raspberry, and even Girl Scout Cookie. Adults like flavors and colors. Are Coffee Mate and International Delight marketing to kids? I doubt it. Or maybe they are. Hmmmm

nocnoc
38229
Points
nocnoc 03/03/14 - 07:14 pm
2
1
"Undoing decades of progress..."

what rock have they been living under?

Smoking data while initially showing declines,
has started to show some increases in Women and Teens.

itsanotherday1
40049
Points
itsanotherday1 03/03/14 - 07:21 pm
5
1
I don't mind regulating

I don't mind regulating advertising to the extent of who they target, but beyond that, LEAVE IT ALONE! If someone wants to "vape", let them, as long their "vape" isn't scented and annoying.

nocnoc
38229
Points
nocnoc 03/03/14 - 07:24 pm
3
1
BTW: So if it looks like something we should ban it even tho

it is Not?

Should we Ban Child Humidifiers, which blow water vapor from tap water and can have such EVIL Things as Menthol added?

After all, it is the same principle, because an E-cig tube is miniature version of the Child Humidifier.

I guess many of us would agree NO.

So it is not the process, it is
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
that the LIBERALS DEMOCRATS find objectionable.

I guess these few needed to get their name in the paper during elections run up for donations or bribes.

OBTW:
But I thought Liberals were the champions about against judging thinks based on their looks?

crc
156
Points
crc 03/03/14 - 10:55 pm
1
1
Government

Once again, this is the beginning of the government trying to make decisions for people.

jimmymac
32259
Points
jimmymac 03/03/14 - 11:26 pm
0
0
E_CIGS
Unpublished

The push for legislation of e-cigs is from the tobacco co.'s plain and simple. They see them as another threat to their bottom line. Politicians are getting back door money to push this. Money is always at the bottom of most political action.

oldredneckman96
4903
Points
oldredneckman96 03/04/14 - 12:30 am
1
0
Vaping, smoking, chewing what ever.
Unpublished

Smoke your old undeware if you like, just do not make any human subject to the byproducts. That is where any form of goverment has the authority to step in. I can carry a weapon in public, I can not shoot it randomly. Get it?

oldredneckman96
4903
Points
oldredneckman96 03/04/14 - 12:30 am
1
0
Vaping, smoking, chewing what ever.
Unpublished

Smoke your old undeware if you like, just do not make any human subject to the byproducts. That is where any form of goverment has the authority to step in. I can carry a weapon in public, I can not shoot it randomly. Get it?

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