Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today urged the Oregon Legislature to make the selling of electronic cigarettes to children illegal, to require safe packaging, and to restrict their use in public areas. In a letter addressed to Representative Mitch Greenlick, Chair of the House Committee on Health Care, the Attorney General, whose authority includes consumer protection, outlined the known health risks and uncertainties associated with e-cigarettes, and urged support of Oregon HB 2546.
“HB 2546 protects the gains we have made against nicotine addiction by outlawing the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prohibiting packaging designed to make e-cigarettes attractive to youth. It also protects the health of all Oregonians by making the provisions of Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act applicable to e-cigarettes.” wrote Attorney General Rosenblum.
E-cigarettes have been promoted as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, definitive research is lacking. For children, the U.S. Surgeon General has noted that nicotine exposure during adolescence can adversely affect neurological development, and that the adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction. The Attorney General also notes in the letter that the flavored chemicals used in e-cigarettes can be mistaken by children for candy and flavored beverages, and there has been an increase in emergency room visits after children have ingested the flavored nicotine “e-juices”.
In August, 2014, Attorney General Rosenblum and 28 other state Attorneys General called on the Food and Drug Administration to establish regulatory guidelines for e-cigarettes.
The full copy of the Attorney General’s letter can be found here.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002