Electronic cigarettes

A group of state officials wants Mississippi to get tougher on electronic cigarettes than even the real thing in an effort to keep the highly addictive product out of the hands of teenagers.

State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier, Attorney General Jim Hood and others are forming a coalition to ask the legislature to further restrict the sale of e-cigarettes before their use reaches epidemic proportions.

They recommend raising the minimum purchase age to 21. It’s now 18, as it is with tobacco products.

They also want e-cigarettes to face heavier taxation, and to prevent retailers from creating “home-brew” concoctions without a license to do so.

The problem with e-cigarettes is that still so little is known about their long-term health effects. Developed as supposedly a healthier alternative to tobacco for smokers, they have also become the gateway to nicotine addiction for many.

Discouraging kids from using nicotine — no matter how it’s delivered — is a good idea. What we need more of, though, is research into how big of a health risk e-cigarettes pose not only for teens but for anyone.

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