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Health officials raise concerns over minors’ access to e-cigarettes

Shamane Mills

Wisconsin Public Radio

Illegal sales of tobacco to minors have remained steady in Madison, but health officials say the bigger concern is the sale of e-cigarettes to underage customers.

For the first time, state health officials are requiring local municipalities to track the sale of liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes under the Wisconsin WINS program.

When young volunteers attempted to purchase these products in the city of Madison, they were able to do so in three out of eight attempts. They had even better luck outside the city, with illegal sales in three out of five attempts elsewhere in Dane County.

"Here in Wisconsin, it is illegal to sell these e-cigarette products to youth. However, they are not regulated in the sense we don't know what's in them. And they aren't required to have any type of license (to sell them)," said Nina Gregerson, the assistant coordinator for the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition.

E-cigarettes don't use tobacco but they do contain nicotine, and little is known about their long-term effects.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed rules regulating e-cigarettes.

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