On December 19, Representative Henry Waxman, Senator Dick Durbin, and Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. sent letters to the twenty-nine State Attorneys General who were signatories of the August 8, 2014 letter to the FDA regarding regulation of e-cigarettes. The December 19th letters lauded the continuing efforts of the State Attorneys General to encourage the regulation of e-cigarettes and called on them to classify e-cigarettes as “cigarettes” under the Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”). Such classification would, among other things, impose cigarette advertising restrictions on vapor products.
The letter cites recent studies asserting increasing usage of vapor products among teens. The Congressmen state that one of the principal causes for this rising trend is a deficiency in “effective regulation” on the products. They call for stricter advertising restrictions, and condemn “big tobacco” advertising tactics, such as “showcasing glamorous celebrities, creating cool cartoons, and pushing their brands through sexy television and print advertisements.”
The Congressmen state that e-cigarettes meet the criteria for a “tobacco product” under the MSA due to their tobacco and nicotine content, as well as being “heated under ordinary conditions of use.” By classifying vapor products as tobacco products under the MSA, the Congressmen argue that youth access to the products would decrease immediately due to the advertising, marketing, and promotional restrictions that would then be in place. Such restrictions include banning the use of cartoon images, outdoor advertising restrictions, and discontinuation of product sampling without proof of age, among others.
As previously stated in reference to another letter sent earlier this year regarding this same topic, regulation of vapor products under the MSA is a “longshot” bid.