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OUR VIEW: Keep e-cigs out of hands of children

E-cigarettes are becoming more prevalent, mostly evidenced by their appearance in various national television advertising campaigns.

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What are they?

Generally speaking, they simulate cigarettes by using a heating element to vaporize liquids — some of which include mixtures of nicotine and various flavorings.

Most e-cigarettes look just like cigarettes and, no doubt, they are used to simulate the act of smoking.

Trouble is, the sale of e-cigarettes is open to minors in most states, and we see that as trouble. Federal laws mean minors aren’t able to purchase traditional cigarettes, and those that do risk a run-in with the police. Yet e-cigarettes remain unregulated in South Dakota.

A few states already have jumped to take care of this loophole, but South Dakota has not. Also, e-cigarettes face no advertising restrictions, which means their makers are able to get in front of potential consumers, including kids.

Hopefully, this loophole soon will be closed. E-cigarettes may be better for adult smokers than regular cigarettes, but the addictive nicotine in e-cigarettes should not be available to children.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is among 41 attorneys general nationwide who are urging the Food and Drug Administration to address e-cigarette advertising and sales to kids. Jackley wants to see limitations put in place that will keep these devices out of the hands of those younger than 18.

Also in play is how e-cigarettes are classified when it comes to South Dakota’s ban on smoking in public places.

We agree with Jackley and want to see regulations put in place that will keep e-cigarettes away from kids and also classify the devices as what they really seem to be: cigarettes, which shouldn’t be available to minors and which shouldn’t be allowable in public places.