U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Yale School of Public Health on Thursday to decry the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people and to call for a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
Blumenthal, D-Conn., was joined by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) and Yale University Professor of Psychiatry Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D., in calling for the federal ban. They cited the findings of a study led by Krishnan-Sarin that found that 41.8 percent of youth users were attracted to e-cigarettes because of the “good flavor.” Blumenthal credited Krishnan’s research with “lending facts and science to our cause.”
Esty noted that e-cigarette manufacturers have adopted marketing practices straight out of the old tobacco industry playbook, targeting youth with cartoon packaging and appealing flavors like cotton candy, blueberry pie, strawberry and margarita. The manufactures say e-cigarettes are a cleaner form of nicotine that helps smokers quit, Esty said, but there is no evidence to support that. There is evidence that it helps people start.”
Esty and Blumenthal recently got a bill signed into law requiring child-proof packaging for liquid nicotine. Now they are working on getting a bill passed that would protect children from e-cigarette advertising.
“This is a public health situation, and we need to do better,” Blumenthal said. “But we have history and public health on our side. Yale is really in the forefront of public health.”