August 24, 2015
Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Chairman, Assembly Public Health and Development Services
State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: ABX2 6 (Cooper) Adding E-Cigarettes to Tobacco Products Definition
AAP-CA Position: SUPPORT
Dear Chairman Bonta:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing nearly 5,000 primary care and subspecialty pediatricians statewide, strongly supports proposed legislation ABX2-6 (Cooper) to add e-cigarettes to the existing tobacco products definition. AAP-CA joins other public health and medical organizations as members of Save Lives California in co-sponsoring this important bill. ABX2-6 (Cooper) addresses growing public health concerns about the unregulated use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in California.
E-cigarettes, also called Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or personal vaporizers (PV), present another way for smokers to ingest nicotine. E-cigarettes are increasingly being marketed to young adults and adolescents. They are also touted by some users as a “safer” alternative to smoking, and a way to either quit smoking cigarettes, or to smoke in places where cigarette smoking is not allowed. However, these products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and no rigorous scientific studies have shown that they are safe for use. The following are the facts:
- Nicotine is highly addictive and has negative effects on brain development from the prenatal period into adolescence.
- According to 2013 CDC data, use of e-cigarettes among high school and middle school students doubled from 2011 to 2012, with 1.8 million students reporting they’ve tried the device.
- According to the CDC, nearly 250,000 youth who had never smoked tried e-cigarettes in 2013– a 3-fold increase from 2011.
- According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the number of child poisonings due to e-liquids jumped to 3353 in 2014, from 659 reported in 2012.
In April 2014, the FDA proposed a new rule to extend its tobacco regulating authority to e-cigarettes. The proposed rule would restrict sales to minors younger than 18, require health warnings on packaging, prohibit vending machine sales, and prohibit marketing the products as healthy or safe. These proposed FDA rules do not address the use of candy and fruit flavors, which appeal to youth, do not require childproof packaging to prevent poisonings, and would not go into effect until at least 2 years after the rule is finalized. As a result, the responsibility rests on individual states, including California, to restrict the harm that e-cigarette use poses to minors.
ABX2-6 (Cooper) would help to protect children and youth from exposure to e-cigarettes by ensuring they are accurately defined as tobacco products and fall under the state’s existing smoke-free laws. It would also require that e-cigarette packaging be child resistant. ABX2-6 (Cooper) is a reasonable and important step to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of children and families.
California pediatricians respectfully ask for you AYE vote on ABX2-6 (Cooper).
Thank you for your leadership and public service on behalf of California youth.
Chief Executive Officer
American Academy of Pediatrics, California