Logic Technology, which makes up 17 percent of industry sales, plans a push in Manhattan bars and nightclubs this year or early 2014.
“You go where adult smokers are,” said Miguel Martin, president of Livingston, N.J.-based Logic, in an interview.
The industry says e-cigarettes are a healthier, cleaner alternative to traditional smoking. Many disagree. At least 40 U.S. state attorneys general on Sept. 24 urged the FDA to immediately regulate the sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes in a letter that said the products are appealing to youth and no one is “ensuring the safety of the ingredients.”
That followed a Sept. 5 report in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised an alarm about children getting hooked on nicotine. The CDC found the share of U.S. students in middle school and high school who used e-cigarettes doubled to 10 percent in 2012 from 4.7 percent a year earlier.
By comparison, adolescents who reported smoking regular cigarettes daily or more casually, declined to 8.3 percent in 2010, from 11.9 percent in 2004, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said earlier this year.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and 11 other Democrats, seized on the report to call for immediate FDA regulation and to demand that e-cigarette companies provide documents related to sales, labeling and marketing of their products to children.
“Despite claims from some e-cigarette makers that they do not market their products to youth and that kids should not have access to their products, e-cigarette manufacturers appear to be applying marketing tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to hook a new generation of children,” the senators wrote in a Sept. 26 letter to e-cigarette companies.
The FDA has oversight over the cigarette market under a 2009 law that gives it sway over manufacturing, marketing and other tobacco industry practices. The law permits the FDA to determine whether it will extend its reach to related products.