Selling E-Cigarettes to Kids Like Candy–And Stealing from Girl Scouts
Makers of electronic cigarettes, battery-powered devices that heat liquid nicotine and create vapor for users to inhale, are being told by corporate America to stop using their brands to sell their products. Flavors e-cigarette makers have appropriated include Thin Mint (synonymous with the iconic Girl Scout cookie), Tootsie Roll and General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch. While makers of regular tobacco cigarettes are barred from using fruit or candy flavors, e-cigarette makers are not. In fact, the nearly $2 billion electronic cigarette industry isn’t currently regulated by the FDA. (E-cigarette makers are, however, banned like everyone else from infringing on trademark-protected brands.)
While most e-cigarette users are either cigarette smokers or ex-smokers (60%), a good number of young people – 10% of grade 6-12 students in the US – who have never smoked tobacco cigarettes have tried e-cigarettes at least once. It’s not yet clear whether using e-cigarettes will decrease or increase overall nicotine addiction, but some scientists suspect it can’t help. In most states there are still no restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Top e-cig brands include Hella Vapor, Nola Vape, and EC Blend Flavors.