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New debate flares over electronic cigarettes

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- There's new debate in the longtime home of big tobacco about whether electronic cigarettes should be regulated like traditional cigarettes.

A new report, recently released by a dozen congressmen pushing for new rules, finds e-cigarettes should be regulated.

That's because the growing trend with adult smokers is becoming more popular with teens.

The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth's Richard Foster said e-cigarettes sales have skyrocketed since since they were introduced. He said marketing is part of the problem when it comes to teens.

"They're able to get around restrictions that traditional tobacco products have in place," Foster said.

A recent congressional report said it is a problem.

Congress said e-cigarette manufactures are characterizing flavors like watermelon bubble gum and tutti frutti in order to appeal to teens under 18.

Chris Cooley, the co-owner of Richmond Vapes, said there is a misconception about e-cigarrettes.

"I'm actually not aware of any direct marketing from any liquid makers to any age group, let alone minors."

Dooley said the huge assortment of flavors and products for e-cigarettes is there to give his adult customers variety with smoking.

"Honestly my guys that really get into tend to be the older crowd, because there's a lot of specialty electrical knowledge," Dooley said.

However, Foster believes that variety is partly what is drawing teens.

"One in five of those kids nationally said they hadn't even tried a regular cigarette yet, so that certainly points to the data about it being a gateway," Foster said.

Virginia passed new regulations in March which make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors.
Lawmakers in Washington are being pressured to create a similar federal law and mandate warning labels.


  • James

    A gateway? Vaping is relatively new. Cigarettes have been around a long time. They keep coming up with bad excuses for wanting to regulate. If this report really said the flavors exist to appeal to those under 18, then everyone with involved in the report are purposely lying. They are flavored because that appeals to the adults that use them.

  • Robert Copia

    Levy Thamba was a 19 year old exchange student from Africa, attending college in Wyoming.
    On March 11, 2014, while in Colorado with friends, Levy Thamba plunged to his death from a 4th floor hotel balcony, after ingesting cookies laced with marijuana. As of Jan1, 2014, Colorado law allows the purchase of marijuana for “recreational use” for those over 21.
    The Medical Examiner listed ”marijuana intoxication” as the contributing factor to the death of Levy Thamba. The investigation did not find evidence of prior drug use or anti-social behavior on the part of Levy Thamba and concluded that the purchase of marijuana was the main reason for the trip. Over 20 states permit ”medical marijuana”, and many states have decriminalized possession of small amounts. Colorado officials admit they gave no thought to the potency or the effects of edible marijuana such as the cookies eaten by Levy Thamba. Decades of research prove that ingesting a large amount of potent marijuana may cause violent, anxious and paranoid behavior.
    Across the USA, medical marijuana is being purchased legally and then resold to youth. Young people, emboldened by “decriminalization” and lax law enforcement, are becoming first time users. You might say that a “GATEWAY” has been created.
    The, 4/6/2014, Washington Post, reports, “due in part to decriminalization and the large supply of high quality marijuana grown in the USA, Wholesale prices, in the last 5 years, have dropped dramatically. Mexican growers have shifted to growing opium poppies that are turned into heroin, “cheap heroin”. Thus, the number of heroin users in the USA has doubled to 700,000.
    The sale of recreational marijuana conflicts with federal law, and the stores could be closed immediately. Medical marijuana could be dispensed in pill or spray form, without the mind altering effects, an even more effective method of delivering the Medical Benefits.
    Neither of these actions have been taken and the marijuana business goes on as usual. The campaign for further legalization continues.
    On April 14, 2014 Illinois Senator Richard Durbin stepped forward and proclaimed, “WE MUST CLOSE THIS NEW “GATEWAY” TO ADDICTION TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN”.
    Mr. Durbin was not talking about the ill-conceived changes, based on greed, to existing laws concerning marijuana. Changes that are responsible for the death of Levy Thamba and the epidemic of “cheap heroin” . He is talking about a little device consisting of a lithium battery,, like the one in your cellphone but not as powerful, that heats a cartridge that contains a mixture of water, propylene glycol, (a legal product found in food, toothpaste, medicine etc.) that makes the fake smoke, food grade flavoring and about 2% of the mixture is pure nicotine. It is called an electronic cigarette, and should really be called a “personal nicotine vaporizer”. This device has
    enabled me, a once hopelessly addicted tobacco cigarette smoker, to be tobacco free for 3.5 years and enjoy drastically.improved health. If the E-Cig was around 20 years ago, perhaps my dear aunt,very intelligent except for her cigarette addiction, could have been spared a horrible passing caused by lung cancer.
    Not one of the front line fighters in the “War on E-Cigs “ and the “Campaign of Fear “ directed against 41.1 million Americans addicted to tobacco, has in anyway taken one action or attempt or suggestion to unwind the catastrophe of which the death of Levy Thamba, who was somebody’s son, is a direct result.
    There has been one unfortunate death caused by accidental poisoning due to E-Cigs. Ivy the dog got hold of ecig cartridges ate them and died. All of the the dozens of hazardous if ingested items, toothpate, certain plants etc. should be kept out of reach.
    A Google search turned up:
    73,000 results for “Ivy the dog e-cig poisoning.”
    8,000 results for “Levy Thamba marijuana
    Who is directing this propaganda campaign against against e-cigs and why?
    Bloomberg News 2/19/2014 reports, “ GLAXO Memo Shows Drug Industry Lobbying on E-Cigs”.
    Glaxo and Pfizer, 2 pharma giants, sell smoking cessation products, nicotine gum, patches and lozenges that might look like candy to a child. Nicotine inhalers that look like cigarettes, and a spray that contains liquid nicotine along with 6 other chemicals. They also sell anti smoking pills, Zyban (welbutrin) and Chantix. Both are mind altering psychiatric drugs. Both have “Black Box” FDA warnings of dangerous side effects, worsening depression, suicidal thoughts/ actions etc.
    Chantix is number one in adverse event reporting to the FDA. These companies are losing business to the ECIG, and they do not like it.
    Pharma contributed ELEVEN million dollars to politicians in the 2010-11 election cycle and spends 2.4 billion each year n the MEDIA. Thus the “war on e-cig”.
    Both Glaxo and Pfizer have plead guilty to civil and criminal charges brought by the US Dept. of Justice regarding illegal promotion of certain drugs and paid fines.
    Pfizer $2.3 Billion Sept, 2009
    Glaxo $3 Billion July 2012 GLAXO plead guilty to using illegal and fraudulent methods to target children and adolescents through their doctors for the sale of dangerous anti depressants not approved for those under 18.
    It seems wherever there is anti- ECIG talk there is Glaxo money.The Center For Public Integrity reported that Gov. Christie attended a fund raiser, in his behalf at the Washington home of Ed Rogers, a powerful lobbyist for Glaxo. At $3800 a ticket Gov. Christie of New Jersey walked away with $$$. Gov Christie is currently trying to get a 98% TAX on ECIGS passed and put them out of business in N.J.
    The American Lung Association, BIG ECIG haters. Propublica, public records show $2.1 million from Glaxo in 2011-12 to the American Lung Assoc. ETC. ETC.
    Senator Durbins last attempt to take out an enemy of BIG PHARMA, VITAMINS, through the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, would have put the GOV. between you and your vitamins.
    The Durbin Report reveals that the ECIG industry spent 70 billion on advertising and it appears to HIM that they are targeting children.
    Big Pharma spends 2. 4 billion with cartoons that show a gray sky turning blue after you take your SECOND anti-depressant. Beer and liquor ads, everywhere you look or listen. The constantly quoted Center for Disease Control reports 4700 KIDS under 21 die each year from “EXCESSIVE Alcohol Consumption” Neither Big Pharma or Big Liquor seem to bother anyone. Michael Jackson died with Valium and Lorezapam in his system ,not nicotine.
    It “Appears” that Senator Durbin and the Pharmaceutical Industry have “so much in common that it’s a phenomenon”

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