WASHINGTON–Findings from a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report show the rising use of electronic cigarettes has not lowered the rate of conventional smoking, as measured by federal excise tax revenue.
“Although e-cigarettes are often touted as a way to reduce smoking, the report shows that e-cigarette sales do not measurably reduce tobacco consumption,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “Meanwhile, e-cigarette products continue to flow into the country, primarily from China, with virtually none of the safeguards Americans expect for products they put in their bodies. We don’t even know how many e-cigarettes are being imported, much less what they’re made of. It’s time for that to stop.”
The GAO report, requested by Wyden and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, comes as e-cigarette use continues to grow, especially among teenagers and high school students. A recent CDC survey showed a three-fold increase in the number of teens using e-cigarettes.
While increased e-cigarette use has come as traditional smoking rates among teens continues to drop, there is limited knowledge about the health effects, sources, and contents of e-cigarette products – most of which are imported from China – as they are not currently tracked under any national regulatory or revenue system.
The findings also note there is extremely limited data on the price and quantity of e-cigarette products on the market today.
Wyden called for the Federal International Trade Commission to gather more data on e-cigarette imports in a June letter.
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