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The Prevent Cancer Foundation was pleased to see Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) introduce legislation (Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2014) in the Senate that will seek to ban e-cigarette companies from advertising, promoting and marketing their devices to children. Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) also vowed to take a stand against the targeting of children by electronic cigarette companies.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes) are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn these chemicals, including highly addictive nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. The FDA has stated that e-cigarettes have not been thoroughly studied and we currently do not know their potential risks, including how much nicotine and harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the use of e-cigarettes has more than doubled for middle and high school students. According to the Surgeon General, adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of nicotine and adolescent exposure may have lasting adverse consequences for brain development. Some e-cigarette brands are even marketing flavors such as vanilla, bubblegum and cotton candy. A new study, which appeared in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, notes that the “use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among U.S. adolescents.” The New York Times cited the article, stating that use of e-cigarettes can lead to heavy use of conventional cigarettes as well as a decreased likelihood of quitting.

We encourage all cancer prevention advocates to oppose the use of electronic cigarettes, particularly among young people. Senator Boxer and Senator Schumer have taken an important first step towards promoting the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children, and the Prevent Cancer Foundation stands behind them in these efforts.