Hawaii AG joins dozens in demanding FDA regulation of e-cigarettesUPDATED 7:48 PM HST Sep 24, 2013Video Transcript
Hawaii's attorney general has signed a letter... asking the Food and Drug Administration to reel in the e- cigarette industry. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with more in tonight's top story. Andrew, I understand our A-G wasn't alone in this? That's right Yunji, Paula... 39 other state AG's signed that same letter warning about the dangers of electronic cigarettes. An industry trade group estimates 4 million Americans now use battery-powered cigarettes, but in theory, NONE of them should be minors in Hawaii. The state BANNED minors from buying e-cigs back in June. DAVID LOUIE: "OUR LEGISLATURE ACTED REALLY TERRIFICALLY AND BANNED THE SALE OF E-CIGARETTES TO YOUTH . IT'S NOT BANNED IN A LOT OF OTHER STATES UNFORTUNATELY." Now State Attorney General David Louie wants more. He's among a group of attorneys general asking the FDA to regulate e- cigarettes under the Tobacco Control Act. Right now, electronic cigarettes are being marketed as the 'in' thing to do. DAVID LOUIE: "THE WAY THEY'RE PUBLICIZING THIS THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT THE RESURGENCE OF BEING COOL WITH CIGARETTES. YOU KNOW IT'S AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE AND IT CAN LEAD PEOPLE TO SMOKE, WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT." E-cigarettes and the vapor they produce don't contain many of the harmful tars and chemicals found in regular smokes, but they CAN contain nicotine in a variety of doses. JESSICA YAMAUCHI: "HAVING A COOL PRODUCT, BEING ABLE TO TRY IT IN A MULTITUDE OF FLAVORS WHERE IT'S MORE PALATABLE. BUT THEN ALSO BECOMING ADDICTED TO THE NICOTINE, AND THEREFORE COULD POTENTIALLY GO ON TO USE OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS." And since e-cigs don't fall under the auspices of the FDA, companies who sell the devices have free reign when it comes to advertising. JESSICA YAMAUCHI: "THEY GET TO ADVERTISE ON TELEVISION, WHICH TOBACCO HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO FOR DECADES, THEY ALSO ADVERTISE ON THE RADIO STATIONS." If the FDA fails to issue regulations by a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 31, Louie says he may urge state lawmakers to take the lead. DAVID LOUIE: "OBVIOUSLY, WE'D HAVE TO CONSULT WITH THE LEGISLATORS AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT THAT. WE'D WANT TO DO IT ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS AND TRY AND TARGET IT." The letter by the 40 Attorneys general states electronic cigarette sales are expected to reach $1-point-7 billion dollars this year.