NJ Senator wants to ban e-cigarettes

March 24, 2009 2:05:15 PM PDT
New Jersey's senior senator is asking the government to block the sale of so-called "electronic cigarettes" until more is known about them.

Electronic, or E-cigarettes, have become popular items at many shopping mall kiosks. They were big sellers over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

They are marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking and as a way to kick the habit. They are smokeless and battery-powered, with many releasing a nicotine vapor into the lungs.

New Jersey Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg sent the Food and Drug Administration a letter saying that the agency should ensure e-cigarettes are not sold until they've been studied more.

Shortly after the announcement from Sen. Lautenberg's office, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids cheered the senator's move.

They said the devices are being marketed towards young people, who can purchase them in fruit flavors, and online, without having to verify their ages.

They say there have been no studies done to date regarding the safety of e-cigarettes.

An FDA spokeswoman says the agency will respond directly to the senator regarding his concerns.

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