Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) plans to introduce federal legislation on Monday that will classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, prohibit their sale to minors, and ban flavors other than menthol.
The Stop Selling and Marketing to Our Kids E-Cigarettes (SMOKE) Act is intended to deter kids from vaping. The bill would also require child-proof e-cig packaging and prohibit television advertising for e-cigs, among other provisions.
"The industry has lured children and teenagers with aggressive marketing tactics to use its products. With flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy, and chocolate cake, our kids are literally vaping these things up," Speier said in a statement.
"Our kids are literally vaping these things up."
"With ads using sex and sex appeal, our teens are lusting after these objects. It’s time to regulate these products and protect our children."
Most of the smaller "cigalikes" owned by big tobacco companies are designed to taste like cigarettes, but flavoring is an essential part of vape culture for people who opt for larger vaporizers with replaceable parts. A recent study by a University of California, San Diego medical team concluded that there are roughly 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes ranging from melon to popcorn to "freckle-faced dragonberry."
Speier announced the bill today flanked by health officials from Stanford and the city of San Francisco. Concern about e-cigs increased after the Centers for Disease Control reported a spike in e-cig related calls to poison control centers. The Food and Drug Administration is still determining how e-cigs will be regulated.