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In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg on Tuesday, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) said states have fought to protect their residents from the dangers of tobacco products. With that protection in mind, the association highlighted "the need for immediate regulatory oversight of e-cigarettes," which it called "an increasingly widespread, addictive product."
Forty state and territorial attorneys general signed the letter.
Raising concerns that youths are trying electronic cigarettes, NAAG cited the lack of age restrictions, and flavor and advertising bans that are found in traditional cigarette regulations. The association pointed to a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that found 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried an e-cigarettesin 2012.
"E-cigarettes contain fruit and candy flavors -- such as cherry, chocolate, gummy bear and bubble gum -- that are appealing to youth," the attorneys general wrote. "The FDA has banned such flavors from cigarettes and should take the same action regarding e-cigarettes."
Online sales also draw youths because of the lack of age verification, the association noted.
"We ask the FDA to move quickly to ensure that all tobacco products are tested and regulated to ensure that companies do not continue to sell or advertise to our nation's youth," the letter stated.
The letter comes one week after several Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a similar letter to Hamburg pushing for the agency to take immediate action on electronic cigarette regulation. U.S. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and John D. Dingell (D-Colo.) also cited the CDC report, as CSNews Online previously reported.