Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 31, 2015

Durbin, Democrats Rip E-Cigarettes as ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons,’ Want Ban on Sale to Children

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seven Senate Democrats are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes, citing a new report on nicotine poisoning.

The senators, led by Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, asked FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg in a new letter to regulate newly-developed nicotine products.

“The emerging market of new nicotine delivery products raises serious public health and consumer protection concerns. It’s time for the FDA to stop the sale of these candy-flavored poisons to our children,” Durbin and his colleagues wrote in Tuesday’s letter.

The latest in a series of missives about so-called e-cigs comes in response to a New York Times report on hazards associated with the nicotine liquids that are used in filling e-cigarettes. The New York Times referred to them as “powerful neurotoxins.”

Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Boxer of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon joined in the new letter.

“Over the years we have seen the emergence of new nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, hookah pens, dissolvable nicotine orbs and strips, and liquid nicotine products, also called e-liquids, which are marketed to appeal to children with bright colors and flavors like cherry and bubble gum,” the senators wrote. “Unlike traditional cigarettes and tobacco products, these novel nicotine products are not subject to federal regulations that prohibit sale to minors, restrict marketing to youth, ban products in candy and fruit flavors, and regulate manufacturing practices and ingredients.”

  • Doc Velvet

    I am a 42 year old man who smoked 3 packs a day for over 20 years. I was finally able to quit smoking last august and switch to electronic cigarettes. My flavors of choice are BERRY CREAM, BLUEBERRY and WATERMELON. I am all for restricting sales to minors, but adults like flavors too! There are no shortage of candy flavored vodkas on the market. Law makers seem to think its enough to just have age restrictions on the sale of those products. Lets not limit smokers on the options they have while kicking their deadly habits.

  • watcher64

    So Cake flavored vodka, Whipped Cream Vodka, is NOT marketed to children? But just because it is remotely related to smoking it is evil ..

    Grow a freaking brain cell ….

  • 3xaparent

    If minors have access to nicotine products, it’s their parents the deserve the punishment for being bad parents, not people who choose to participate in harmless activities.

  • jake

    If you going to report on something, then why only report part of the story. This article regurgitates a debunked NYTimes hack job that had no research and very little substance, but nothing about the numerous other well researched articles that have actual fact based information about ecigs.

    • Arshin Carnifex

      I saw that article too. #1 most emailed, according to them.

      NYC has a very specific, very pernicious brand of Stalinism; they see the purpose of government in none of the pretty lights and bright colors that the rest of the Liberals do.

      Government to NYC is a boot stomping on their enemies’ faces, forever.

      How do I know? I used to live there and hang out with them.

  • Arshin Carnifex

    Helps millions help themselves without the intervention of government, and in doing so saves hundreds of thousands of lives.



    Where have we heard this before?

  • Jim McLeod

    Shouldn’t this fall under FDA? Once the legislation gets their hands on it, they’ll try to stick taxes and possibly load restrictions on it when crossing state lines. I don’t need the Senate to protect me from something that is not really a problem.

  • Lady Beki Jane

    I fully support a ban on the sale of nicotine containing e-cigarette products to under 18s. But not because they are in any way being marketed to children. They are not, and in fact most ecigarette vendors already voluntarily age check and sell only to over 18s. There are no children in my house. I make my own ejuice. I have made Caramel, Creme caramel, Murray mint and custard flavoured ejuices. These flavours are obviously designed for me to add to my juice to entice these non-existent children who I never see and who never see me vaping or smell what I’m breathing out. I must be the witch from the fairy
    tale, but instead of a gingerbread cottage I have clouds of flavored
    exhaled vapor wafting on the breeze. Clouds of exhaled vapor which
    contain less nicotine than a bag of crisps, or a tomato, or a portion of
    cauliflower, which must be oh so very addictive. These non existent
    kids must be sniffing and following the trail back to my door where I
    welcome them with loud cackles. Please note that this is satire; I am

    If these flavors were designed to market ecigs to children, then I
    as an adult vaper would obviously have no interest in adding them to my
    own home made juices. I add these flavors to my juice because the
    flavors in ejuice are an important part of what keeps me using the
    personal vaporizer rather than going back to smoking tobacco. If I stick
    to the same flavor day in and day out, I stop tasting it and vaping
    becomes less rewarding to me compared with lighting up a tobacco cigarette. Having said that, the flavor of my ejuice is so pleasant to me that the idea
    of lighting a tobacco cigarette is repugnant, and disgusting. When my female best friend smokes near me it stinks and is generally foul, but I support her
    right to smoke because that’s her choice and I have no right to dictate
    to her.

    Where I fall out with public health and clueless politicians is that they would deny me, and thousands of smokers like I used to be, a huge part of the mechanism of what makes vaping more effective than smoking, out of a misguided attempt to protect children. It’s like banning all airbags from cars because children might be hurt by one. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The flavours in ejuice are there because it makes these products more effective for adult smokers to use to switch from smoking burnt tobacco.

    There is another argument here, as sugar becomes the new demon ‘drug’
    being chased out of our lives. Are diet drinks a ‘gateway’ to sugar drinks? Does the consumption of sugar-laden orange juice lead to consuming vast amounts of evil-BIG SUGAR-fizzy drinks? Should we therefore ban all flavours in liquids which contain sugar, and limit them only to sugar-free drinks? Should sugar be put under medical regulations, and products that contain over [arbitrary limit] only be available on prescription to ‘addicts’?

    It’s nonsense, all of it. Please stop dictating my consumer choices. I’m a rational adult. An angry rational adult.

  • EKeller

    The senators did not cite a “new report”; they cited a news report. Senators should be getting their scientific information from scientific reports, not newspaper articles. One of the so-called experts interviewed for the story did refer to nicotine as a “powerful neurotoxin”, but “name-calling” is a well-recognized propaganda technique. The nicotine in e-cigarette liquids is no more or less toxic than the nicotine in traditional tobacco products or the nicotine in the FDA-approved patch, gum, lozenges, inhaler, and nasal spray. The New York Times did mention that there has only been one death from e-cigarette liquid (in 2011), but that was not a child–that was a successful suicide by a 29-year old male who injected himself with liquid. Why do it that way? It is very difficult to achieve fatality by oral ingestion of a product that contains nicotine, because the stomach reacts by triggering vomiting, which purges the potential poison from the body. The only child fatality from nicotine over the past 30 years did not stem from pleasant-flavored new products designed to help smokers switch to a less hazardous alternative. The single incident involved a child under the age of six who ate conventional tobacco cigarettes. Researchers wrote, “however the co-ingestion of both cigarettes and diazepam complicates an assessment of a contributory role of tobacco.” More than half of the states have already enacted laws to prevent e-cigarettes being sold to those under the legal age for purchasing tobacco products. The remaining states are free to (and should) follow suit, without the need for the FDA to give the orders. The 2012 report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers noted 7,308 exposures to tobacco products (of which 5,313 involved conventional cigarettes), 672 cases of exposures to pharmaceutical nicotine products, and 172 exposures to e-cigarettes.

  • Ladybug Frankie

    I have smoked since i was 13 yrs old n have tried so many things to stop but could not. I am now smoke free thanks to Vape Revolution and their many flavors, I stopped smoking with Karma Cream flavor and have remained smoke free for over 1 yr now.

  • thinkliberty

    It seems like they should ban candy flavoured vodka while their at it. Only children drink those flavoured vodkas?

  • Arthur Dent

    It’s time for us adults to be able to use products that aren’t for children without having to worry about the children. Parents need to watch their kids, not the government, not the rest of the adult population! There is flavored booze and flavored cough medicine on the market – those items aren’t for children either. It’s time for people to start using their damn brains and tell kids, “NO, this is not for you! You are a child and you don’t get to use this!”

  • left wing

    durbin and the dems love a police state and hate freedom.

  • VapeIsNotBad

    This guy is an idiot, just because they are flavored as candy does not mean they are marketed towards children. So edible condoms are geared towards children too? Makes sense to me lets just do whatever this genious thinks..

  • keith stammers

    Is Durbin aware that the FDA have already approved candy flavoured nicotine gum [ sold at Wallmart ] may be his paymasters Big Pharma who made donations to his party weren’t clear or maybe he was not listening to his instructions – they said they want electronic cigarettes banned because they are destroying the NRT market and the smoking related disease market currently worth over $289 billion per year, he had better get his story straight if he wants anymore lobbying donations.

  • Lisa

    I have been a smoker for 30 years and quit smoking thanks to Vaping. Nothing else has worked. NOTHING

  • ppc

    Durbin and other Democrats need to drop this crusade NOW. There are many Democrats and progressives who use ecigarettes. This is one of the best public health advancements of modern times, and the position these Democrats are taking is anti-science, anti-people and anti-health. Terrible idea.

  • Bozeman

    Are liberals losing it? In a somewhat related video we find deranged lunatic Chris Matthews comparing radio-personality Mark Levin to North Korea’s totalitarian communist dictator Kim Jong Un:

  • Defend The Constitution

    If Floyd Corkins, Chris Dorner, Karl Pierson, Ed Schultz, Troy Gilmore Jr., John Muhammed, Hussein Obama, Lee Boyd Malvo, Demetrius Glenn, and Aaron Alexis are any indication, today’s liberals are becoming increasingly unhinged, aggressive, and violent.

  • cigarbabe

    Had I known Sen. Markey was one of the anti science, anti ecig and anti health extremist’s I NEVER would have VOTED for him and neither would the rest of “MA. Vapers” of whom there are many. You Lunatics proposing these unfounded bans based on bad reporting should truly be ashamed of yourselves. I quit smoking almost four years ago thanks to ecigs with flavors.
    I VAPE and I VOTE.

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