U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act to prevent the advertising of e-cigarettes to our youth.
Esty said in a release Thursday e-cigarette manufacturers have been targeting children and teens through advertisements, trying to get them hooked at an at early age. These advertisements for e-cigarettes highlight flavors such as bubble gum or gummy bears. They also promote cartoon characters as an effort to attract and addict kids.
Despite serious health concerns, the e-cigarettes are currently unregulated, Esty said. In a single year, the percentage of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes has more than doubled.
Studies done by the Centers of Disease Control show that 1.8 million teens have tried an e-cigarette and 75 percent of them have smoked traditional cigarettes.
"Having actively worked on smoking prevention and cessation throughout my career and in my kids' classrooms, I am very concerned about the widespread marketing of e-cigarettes to children," Esty said.
Nicotine is highly addictive and has serious impacts on a developing human brain, Esty added.
"We've made too much progress reducing tobacco use to roll back the clock. This bill is an important first step, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get it passed," Esty said.
Esty has already gained the support of the American Public Health Association and the American Association of Pediatrics.
Organizations such as the Cancer Action Network, the American Heart and Lung Associations and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have joined together in support of Esty's bill as well.
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