E-cigarettes under fire by Hawaii and 38 other states - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

E-cigarettes under fire by Hawaii and 38 other states

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

E-cigarettes are red hot, but under fire from 39 States, including Hawaii. Today, Hawaii Attorney General David Louie joined a national push for regulations.

Just a few years ago, e-cigarettes were so novel, actress Katherine Heigl showed David Letterman how to use one on the Late Show.

Now, they're so mainstream, the country's top seller advertised during the last Super Bowl.

The Njoy King e-cig ad starts with a handsome man holding what looks like the real deal. The announcer says, "You know what's the most amazing thing about this cigarette? It isn't one. Introducing the Njoy King."

Sales shot up 40 percent. This year's halftime performer, Bruno Mars, who famously "lit up" for his Rolling Stone cover, didn't just make the switch. He invested in the company.

The Hawaii native tweeted a picture in May, saying "Day 1 e-cig, gotta do it. This is for you mom." 

Hawaii's Attorney General worries celebrity endorsements and enticing fruit flavors appeal to teens. "They say it's better" says David Louie. "If you look at advertisements, they're promoting it as a new way to be glamorous and to reclaim smoking as a virtue instead of a vice."

Louie signed a letter today with 38 other Attorney Generals, urging the Food and Drug Administration regulate ecigs and prohibit sales to minors. Louie adds, "It's proper that we regulate it, that it has proper warning labels. That we make sure they don't have these marketing of flavor substances that make it like candy."

20 year old Austin Navarro is sold on his apple flavored "vapes." He sees it as a healthier, cheaper nicotine fix, adding "The smell I don't like wreaking of cigarettes and I don't have to buy packs packs of them."

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 1.8 million middle and high school students tried e-cigs last year.

In 2012, Hawaii banned e-cig sales to anyone under 18. Navarro agrees, "it should be enforced, definitely influence kids not to do it."

E-cig sales have doubled every year since 2008. It's poised to become a 1.7 billion dollar industry.

Medical professionals and critics say users may believe they're "better than cigarettes," but the jury's still out on potential health hazards. The letter to the FDA requests action by Halloween.


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