States to Start Cracking Down on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey’s first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young. Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA)
This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey’s first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young. Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA)
This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, PA)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Frustrated by the slow pace of federal action, state attorneys general are waging their own campaigns against the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes to minors.

More than a dozen AGs, including those in New York, California, Indiana and Ohio, are using new state and local laws – some of which they helped craft – to put pressure on the industry at all levels, from neighborhood vape shops to big tobacco companies like Altria Group and Reynolds American Inc.

Much of the campaign so far has involved threats to sue violators or appeals to a company’s sense of responsibility, though some lawsuits have been filed, too.

State actions have accelerated in the wake of government data released in April, which showed that teen use of e-cigarettes tripled in 2014 alone, making them more common for youngsters than tobacco.

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