Some local Congress members want to keep children from smoking electronic cigarettes and they held a news conference on Monday about their efforts.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty introduced legislation to prevent marketing e-cigarettes to children and were at the Legislative Office Building on Monday with anti-tobacco activists.
“Having actively worked on smoking prevention and cessation throughout my career and in my children’s classrooms, I am very concerned about the widespread marketing of e-cigarettes to America’s youth,” Esty said in a statement. “E-cigarette manufacturers are shamelessly using flavors like bubblegum and promoting cartoon characters in their advertisements to addict our kids. And social media makes the widespread sharing of these ads just that much easier. I’m proud to join Senator Blumenthal in leading efforts to responsibly regulate e-cigarettes. We’ve made too much progress reducing tobacco use to roll back the clock.”
“Tobacco companies advertising e-cigarettes – with flavors like bubblegum and strawberry – are clearly targeting young people with the intent of creating a new generation of smokers, and those that argue otherwise are being callously disingenuous,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “This legislation would prevent tobacco companies from advertising to young people, helping to ensure they are not lured down a path of nicotine addiction and premature death. I’m proud to join Senator Boxer in this effort to keep young people tobacco free.”
A news release from Esty’s office cites the Centers for Disease Control and says 8 million middle and high school students nationwide have tried e-cigarettes and more than 75 percent of them have also smoked traditional cigarettes.
“Nicotine, a highly addictive drug, has serious impacts on the brain development of children and adolescents. Advertisements for e-cigarettes that highlight flavors like bubblegum or gummy bears and promote cartoon characters are shameless efforts to addict our kids. 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 in a statement.
The news conference was held during National Public Health Week.