AG Coakley Testifies in Support of Regulations for E-Cigarettes
Bill will Place Regulations on Sale and Use of Products Targeting Youth
BOSTON – Calling the emerging electronic cigarette market a “growing public health risk,” Attorney General Martha Coakley testified today at the Joint Committee for Public Health in support of a bill filed by House Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain) and co-sponsored by Senate Chairman John F. Keenan (D-Quincy) to place regulations on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes. Last week, AG Coakley co-sponsored a letter from 40 other Attorneys General in urging the Food and Drug Administration to place restrictions on the advertising and sale to minors of the highly addictive products.
“For many years, Massachusetts has been a leader implementing policies that limit the harmful impacts of tobacco on our citizens, and young people in particular,” AG Coakley said in her testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Health. “Unfortunately, the recent growth of the e-cigarette market poses a serious and growing public health risk to Massachusetts residents.”
“I would like to commend Attorney General Coakley and over 40 of her colleagues in calling for strong regulations around electronic cigarettes, as well as thank her for supporting my legislation that would keep these harmful and addictive products out of the hands of minors,” said Representative Sanchez.
“Clearly the emergence of these new products, which deliver an extremely addictive substance, calls for reasonable regulations,” said Senator Keenan. “Protecting the public health, particularly of minors, is and should be a priority, and this legislation reflects our commitment to that priority.”
Currently, there are no statewide regulations on the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes in Massachusetts. The bill, An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control and Protecting the Health of Minors, will prohibit the sale of nicotine delivery systems, including electronic cigarettes, to individuals under 18 years old.
The marketing of e-cigarettes has also become increasingly aggressive toward youth. Many brands carry fruit or candy flavors and manufacturers often use cartoon imagery to sell their products.
The bill will also close several gaps in state law by:
- Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes by students and all school personnel in school buildings, facilities and buses; and
- Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in all places that smoking is already barred, such as workplaces.
The AG testified that research has repeatedly demonstrated that nicotine, the primary active ingredient in many e-cigarettes, has harmful bio-chemical impacts on a user’s brain and body and is extremely addictive. Additionally, the e marketplace for e-cigarettes is growing exponentially, doubling every year since 2008. In 2013, sales are expected to reach $1.7 billion.