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E-cigarettes use flavored e-fluid mixed with nicotine. (MGNonline)

E-cigarettes use flavored e-fluid mixed with nicotine. (MGNonline)

Louisiana should ban e-cigarettes to minors

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:49 PM

A state senator is seeking to ban the sale of e-cigarettes or vaporizers to people under the age of 18.

Senate Bill 12 by Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, has already received the blessing of the Senate Committee on Judiciary C.

Gallot said e-cigarettes and like products are an increasing threat.

‘‘We want to make sure the law catches up with the technology out there,’’ he said.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that generally contain cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The electronic cigarette turns nicotine, which is highly addictive, and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

Five years ago, a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found in one e-cigarette brand diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans. In several other samples, the FDA detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines, which have been associated with cancer in humans.

According to the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey, nearly 4 in 10 Louisiana high school students and mor e than 15 percent of all middle school students use tobacco products. Both usage rates are higher than the national average.

Officials with Tobacco Free Living decry the fact that tobacco company marketing campaigns often target youth.

“Reaching our youth during the transition from middle and high school is crucial because the average smoker tries their first cigarette before the age of 18,” said Tonia Moore, associate director for TFL. “... The time is now to get a better handle on the large number of youth using tobacco products, stand up to the aggressive marketing tactics being used today to target youth and educate about the importance of e-cigarette regulation.”

At least 27 other states have banned the sale of electronic cigarettes, according to National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Louisiana would be wise to add to that number. We hope the full Senate and the House will green light Gallot’s bill and Gov. Bobby Jindal will sign it into law.

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