Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has joined 37 other attorneys general asking the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which are increasingly growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional tobacco products.
A bipartisan letter asks the FDA to take all available measures to regulate e-cigarettes as "tobacco products" under the Tobacco Control Act.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated products that heat liquid nicotine, derived from tobacco plants, into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.
Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent minors from obtaining e-cigarettes.
"We are always concerned when a potentially dangerous product is being sold to the public without regulation," Attorney General Cooper said in a statement. "This is especially alarming when companies attract youth to addictive products through advertising."
Since no federal regulations are in place, the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not known.
"Between manufacturer to manufacturer, it could change what they're putting into the e-cigarette," said Rachel McHenry, a family nurse practitioner at TriStar Summit Medical Center. "And until there's some consistency across the way they're manufactured, we're not going to know exactly what's in there."
To read the letter to the FDA in its entirety, click here.