Washington—Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, introduced a bill Thursday that would ban advertising of e-cigarettes to children.

“Advertisements for e-cigarettes that highlight flavors like bubblegum or gummy bears and promote cartoon characters are shameless efforts to addict our kids,” Esty said.

Citing a study by the Centers for Disease Control,  Esty said 1.8 million middle and high school students have tried e-cigarettes, which provide a smoker with nicotine, but not the tars and other chemicals that are linked to cancer and other diseases.

Esty said the CDC reports that more than 75 percent of underage e-cigarette smokers have also smoked traditional cigarettes. She also said the percentage of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2013 and is increasing dramatically.

The campaign to regulate e-cigarettes is gaining traction among Democrats in Congress. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a similar bill last month that was co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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