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South Dakota AG joins call for improved enforcement of vapes

The battle over vapes is shaping up similarly to the battle over smoking from the 1990s. The state Attorney General, and 32 of his colleagues, say this fight isn’t over.

Attorney General Marty Jackley has joined a bipartisan letter with his colleagues urging the FDA to take more decisive action regarding e-cigarettes.

Jackley said there are gaps that need closing.

“Thirty-three of us Attorneys General, Republican and Democrat, are asking the FDA to have consistent rules, and what I mean by that is if you look at how they disposable e-cigarettes versus the cartridge e-cigarettes - there’s a discrepancy,” Jackley said.

He said closing the so-called ‘disposable loophole’ would make a difference. Many of those disposables – which are especially popular with young users - are coming from outside American borders.

“I think generally that is the case, especially with the disposable loophole that we’re trying to close – that is driven by China – but it’s happening here in the United States also,” Jackley said.

Jackley said this push comes with the understanding that e-cigs probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“I think everybody recognizes e-cigarettes is a growing business," Jackley said. "With that growing business there’s additional threats to children as seen in some of the marketing techniques that are being employed. Much like what we saw with Big Tobacco back in the 90s.”

The letter urges the FDA to prohibit any non-tobacco vape flavors, enact limits on nicotine levels, assess the marketing used by vape manufactures, and close the disposable loophole.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture