Lung Association Urges City Council to Adopt E-cigarette Regulation Proposal for the Health, Safety of Chicago’s Youth

Official Statement of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago

(January 14, 2014)

The American Lung Association in Greater Chicago lauds the Chicago City Council’s Health and Finance Committee for voting to regulate e-cigarettes as “tobacco products” subject to Chicago’s smokefree law and we urge the full City Council to adopt the proposal as soon as possible.

If passed, the proposal would move e-cigarettes behind the counter of retail stores, prohibit their sale to minors, add e-cigarettes to Chicago’s smokefree law to protect everyone from secondhand emissions, and empower the city to license e-cigarette dealers.

“The Lung Association is very concerned about the potential safety and health consequences of e-cigarettes, as well as claims that they can be used to help smokers quit. There is no government oversight of these products and absent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight, there is no way for the public health, medical community or consumers to know what chemicals are contained in e-cigarettes or what the short and long term health implications might be. Further, there is no evidence that these products do not cause any harm,” said Meghan Miller, Executive Director of the Lung Association in Greater Chicago.

E-cigarettes are available in kid-friendly flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear, bubble gum, Atomic Fireball, cherry cola, caramel candy, blueberry, and orange cream soda. These are “starter products” that encourage youth consumption and make cessation efforts tougher. 

“According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students doubled from 2011 to 2012. Aldermen should protect our kids from predatory practices of the tobacco industry and they should support Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to regulate these dangerous products. ‘Starter products’ target youth to begin smoking. This ordinance will help reduce the cycle of addiction to harmful tobacco products, may prevent a lifetime of addiction and will ultimately save lives,” said Miller.

The FDA has also not approved any e-cigarette as safe and effective in helping smokers quit. When smokers are ready to quit, they should call 1-800-QUIT NOW or talk with their doctors about using one of the seven FDA-approved medications proven to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.

Media contact: James A. Martinez; O: 312-445-2501; C: 312-718-5875; E: James.Martinez@Lung.org.

About the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungIL.org.