Banning E-Cigarette Marketing to Kids

Stopping e-cigarette makers from marketing to kids

S. 2047 Protecting Children From Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2014
The Essentials
1. As e-cigarettes become more popular, the federal government is looking for ways to regulate their use, especially among teens. A March study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics reported that 3.3 percent of 6th to 12th graders said they’d tried e-cigarettes in 2011. In 2012 the number more than doubled, to 6.8 percent. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study found kids who tried e-cigarettes were more likely to try real cigarettes than those who hadn’t.

2. On Feb. 26, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Protecting Children From Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2014, the first of what is likely to be many bills meant to control the sale of the product. The legislation seeks to make it illegal for companies to aim e-cigarettes at minors. It directs the Federal Trade Commission to define what constitutes marketing to kids and gives it authority to work with state attorneys general to enforce banned practices with fines.

3. The bill’s sponsors say it’s obvious companies are targeting teens with ads and with e-cigarettes that come in bright colors and candy flavors. But it’s not clear that Congress can dictate what colors a product can come in, how it tastes, or which ads are acceptable—particularly for those e-cigarettes that contain no nicotine. In 2012 a federal court knocked down a ban on colorful billboards and print ads for conventional cigarettes as being “vastly overbroad.”

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