The joys of addiction

Hawaii has joined 39 other states in asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes the same way it does cigarettes.

Currently there are no federal age restrictions for purchasing the devices or advertising guidelines that would keep their marketing away from children.

The Associated Press reported that a not-so-very-subtle push for young smokers is being attempted by pushing candy and fruit flavorings and using cartoon characters in advertising.

E-cigarettes use flavored vapors to deliver nicotine to the user.

“People, especially kids, are being led to believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative, but they are highly addictive and can deliver strong doses of nicotine,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

The letter to the FDA cited a survey that said 1.8 million students in middle and high schools had tried the devices in 2012.

The fact of the matter is traditional tobacco companies are moving into the e-cigarette business as the market for their older deadly products wanes. These companies will still be profiting from addiction to nicotine, just delivered in a slightly less lethal form.

The states want the federal government to act before Oct. 31 on developing e-cigarette regulations. They also want studies done on the long-term effects of these new nicotine delivery devices.

We’re not certain why the devices are even legal. Do we really need a new way to addict people to nicotine? Do we really need to hand the tobacco companies a new generation of victims?

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.