Keep them out of kids' hands
They're addictive because they are designed specifically to deliver addictive nicotine to users, but e-cigarettes so far have evaded the regulation that is necessary to keep them away from kids.
The devices deliver nicotine in a flavored vapor rather than in tobacco smoke. Manufacturers say they help people quit smoking.
A new study published last week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found, however, that the rate of adolescents using e-cigarettes is more than twice the rate of cigarette smoking's decline.
Because e-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products, they come in flavors such as licorice, strawberry and watermelon, and are marketed with images that appeal to adolescents.
Lawmakers should not wait for another study to show that the nicotine addiction inherent in e-cigarette use leads adolescents to use tobacco products. They should prevent that from happening by subjecting e-cigarettes to the same regulatory regimen that applies to tobacco - no advertising aimed at kids, no kid-friendly flavors, no concert sponsorships.
This is a matter of public health on which legislators should play a preventive, rather than reactive role.