AG Zoeller urging electronic cigarette restrictions on FDA

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is again urging the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes.

It’s a popular topic surrounding a rapidly growing industry.

Dennis Elkins smoked his first cigarette at age 12 and he didn’t stop until about seven years ago this month. That’s when he tried something he wouldn’t have ever imagined – an electronic version of his daily habit.

“I bought one within months of when they came into the United States and never smoked another cigarette again and it’s pretty much saved my life I think. I was one of those people who didn’t want to quit smoking so this is kind of like guilt free smoking to me,” Elkins said.

But others may not have as much support in the cigarettes. One cancer specialist in Terre Haute says there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done.

“We are slowly realizing that there are some bad sides to that as well. It is definitely, definitely way better than smoking the real cigarettes. You get less of the bad chemicals. But, understand one thing. It does contain nicotine. Nicotine is the main addictive thing in the cigarette,” Ashis K. Chakrabarti with Hope Cancer Center said.

“I have seen studies where even without the nicotine, e-cigarettes cause airway resistance and airway information,” he said.

Other concerns include addressing advertising, ingredients, and the sale to minors. The most recent letter to the FDA includes these concerns plus issues with all of the flavors for the cigarettes. It also calls for banning all internet and direct sale.

It’s a loaded request. But one thing the two sides may be able to agree on.

“Going back to the FDA proposition where they want it to be controlled and not so widely sold in an uncontrolled way, I think that’s a good thing,” Chakrabarti said.

“Some regulation is good. I wouldn’t mind that. I have no problem with the fda trying to regulate. Sometimes i dont agree with everything they want but i don’t have a problem with them trying to regulate it,” Elkins said.

Zoeller’s letter is co-sponsored by the attorney generals of Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.

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