Electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular with today's youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high school students' use of e-cigarettes grew 2.8 percent in 2012. Arizona legislators, law enforcement officials and anti e-cigarette advocates recently worked to pass legislation limiting sales of the surrogate smokes to ages 18 and over. They're hoping the Arizona law might become a national model.
Dr. Sara Bode, a member of Arizona’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the law that took effect in Arizona in September sends an important message that e-cigarettes still deliver nicotine that impairs memory and can lead to cigarette smoking and other addictions.
In September, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and 39 other attorneys general sent a letter asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand to e-cigarettes the current prohibition on advertising and marketing tobacco products to youth.
And where once it was easy for minors to buy these tasty non-tobacco products, the law is showing its teeth.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office’s Counter Strike program, which uses youth volunteers to identify stores selling tobacco products to minors, has expanded its efforts to include e-cigarettes, said Erika Mansur, an assistant attorney general.
So far, 12 retailers have been fined for selling e-cigarettes to the minors, while another eight have been fined for selling minors e-hookah, another device that vaporizes nicotine, Mansur said.