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40 AGs urge tight regs of e-cigarettes

BOSTON — Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.

The letter, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Attorney Martha Coakley and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, says e-cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors, much like cigarettes were once marketed to hook new smokers.

At the same time, e-cigarettes are becoming more affordable and more widely available as the use of regular cigarettes decline as they become more expensive and less socially acceptable.

Electronic cigarettes are metal or plastic battery-powered devices resembling traditional cigarettes that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

The health effects of e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated, the letter said.

The letter urges the FDA to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients and sale to minors of e-cigarettes. The decision has been delayed in the past.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also joined on the letter to the FDA.