DANBURY, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) announced Thursday that she is in support of new restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration that prohibits the sale of sale of e-cigarettes to individuals under 18.
“The tobacco industry’s shameless attempts to market e-cigarettes to kids are putting them at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, a substance that has devastating impacts on their health and development," Esty said. "I applaud the FDA for standing up for the wellbeing of our children and taking an important step forward that will help prevent a new generation of kids from getting hooked on nicotine.”
Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver chemicals, including nicotine, in the form of an inhaled aerosol. Until now, unlike traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products, it has been legal to sell e-cigarettes to minors in many states.
According to the Surgeon General, nine out of 10 smokers began smoking before age 18. FDA officials said there are serious health concerns with e-cigarettes, which contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals like diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze.
Studies have shown that nicotine use negatively impacts children’s brain development. Last year, Esty introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act along with Reps. Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Raul Ruiz, and Cheri Bustos. The bipartisan bill would prohibit advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.
Esty and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) authored the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, which requires child safety packaging on the containers for the liquid nicotine that is used in e-cigarettes.
President Barack Obama signed that legislation into law in January.
Before serving in Congress, Esty worked on smoking prevention and cessation as a lawyer, a state legislator, and a PTA volunteer in her children’s classrooms.