WASHINGTON: US senators ripped at electronic cigarette makers Wednesday for their aggressive marketing campaigns to lure youths that have drawn parallels to those once used by Big Tobacco.
E-cigarettes, a tar-free alternative that release nicotine in a vapor instead of smoke and contain fewer toxins, are booming in the United States, with a market estimated at $1 billion last year.
Lawmakers and health professionals, however, have expressed growing concern that the gadget’s use and often unrestricted promotion could glamorize an addictive habit and hook non-smoking teenagers on nicotine.
“While major e-cigarette companies reiterate that they only target adults, a large youth audience still appears to be getting their message pretty loudly and pretty clearly,” said Democratic Senator John Rockefeller.
That’s true “particularly when they aim the message at TV and magazines and social media and events which just really come down hard toward kids,” he added.