Maine’s attorney general has joined a coalition of his peers urging the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen its guidance on regulating electronic cigarettes.

The FDA released that guidance in January to explain how the agency will prioritize its resources for e-cigarette enforcement. One priority was enforcement against flavored, cartridge-based e-cigarettes, with the exception of menthol or tobacco flavored products. Another was enforcement against e-cigarette products marketed toward minors or against manufacturers that have not taken adequate measures to prevent minors from using their products.

But a news release from the Maine Attorney General’s Office on Friday said the current guidelines will not reduce e-cigarette usage among young people.

“It is critical that the FDA update and strengthen its enforcement guidance so that it addresses the full range of e-cigarette products and closes loopholes manufacturers can exploit to market their products to young consumers,” Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a written statement.

The coalition asked the FDA to expand its enforcement priorities by including menthol flavors and products that are not cartridge based. The current guidelines do not emphasize disposable products or refillable cartridge systems that are popular among youth, according to the release. They also said menthol flavors would appeal to young users who would search for a substitute to mint.

The FDA has said menthol should be allowed as a substitute for adults who are transitioning from cigarettes to the electronic alternative.

“The coalition points to a 2020 surgeon general report, which said there is not enough evidence to show that e-cigarettes increase smoking cessation,” the release said. “In fact, the coalition argues, the purported benefits of menthol’s availability to adult smokers should be outweighed by the risk it poses of attracting youth smokers.”

More than two dozen attorneys general signed the comment letter to the FDA. The group is led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.


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