Lawmakers concerned chocolate e-cigarettes may lure teens

BY Vicky Pasquantonio  June 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM EDT
In this photo illustration a woman smokes an electronic cigarette on July 5, 2012 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. Electronic cigarettes are the latest health device for smokers hoping to quit nicotine addiction. Earlier today a major security operation took place in Staffordshire, England, after a passenger on a coach used an electronic cigarette which was mistaken for something more sinister and a full scale security alert was instigated. The 48 passengers were later allowed to carry on with their journey.Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

A woman is seen here smoking an electronic cigarette. A report released this week found the number of e-cigarette companies has increased rapidly to more than 460 brands as of January 2014. Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

A new study released in the journal Tobacco Control found that the number of electronic cigarette companies has increased and marketing tactics have shifted since 2012.

As of January of this year, there were more than 460 e-cigarette brands available for purchase online, and around 7,700 flavors, including Swedish fish, roasted marshmallow and vanilla cupcake.

Since the study began in 2012, an average of 10.5 brands and 242 new flavors were introduced each month.

This “explosion of flavors” is new and has some lawmakers concerned about marketing tactics aimed at children and teenagers.

A 2013 study released by the Centers for Disease Control said e-cigarette use is increasing among middle and high school students.

California Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced legislation on Friday to regulate e-cigarettes.

“With cotton candy and gummy bear flavors and the ability to purchase e-cigarettes online, our children are still very much at risk even with the FDA’s move to regulate,” Representative Speier said in a press release.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended its public comment period on its proposed rule to regulate e-cigarettes through early August. If the rule is finalized, the FDA will be able to implement age restrictions on e-cigarettes and examine claims that the product reduces tobacco-related diseases.