AMA wants tougher rules on e-cigarettes
With an increase in television ads exposing young adults to electronic cigarettes over the last two years, the American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for strict regulation of the marketing and sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
The AMA proposed the new rules this week, claiming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should regulate e-cigarettes with the same rules as other tobacco and nicotine products.
“The AMA supports an FDA proposal to fill the gap in federal regulations on purchasing, labeling, packaging and advertising of electronic cigarettes,” incoming AMA President Dr. Robert Wah said in a news release.
In a September 2013 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that e-cigarette usage by U.S. middle school and high school students has more than doubled from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent in 2012.
To discourage the e-cigarette trend from really taking root, the AMA has the following recommendations:
- Implement a minimum age for e-cigarette purchases
- Create child and tamper proof packaging
- Restrict flavors that appeal to minors
- Use more detailed product labels
- Provide complete disclosure regarding product design, content and emissions
- Ban unsupported claims that e-cigarettes aid in smoking cessation
According to the CDC, electronic cigarettes that do not serve a therapeutic purpose currently go unregulated by the FDA.
Additionally, most states do not regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. In the states that do, young people can easily order them online in tempting flavors such as mint, chocolate or any fruit flavor.
While the FDA has not evaluated the safety or effectiveness of these smokeless, battery operated cartridges, experts are concerned that the use of electronic cigarettes among young people will lead to nicotine addiction and serve as a gateway to other, more risky tobacco products.
“The American Journal of Public Health examines the effect that marketing campaigns launched by tobacco companies have had on the propensity of young people to smoke,” says Dr. Tony Hampton, primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago. “Marketing that encourages use of tobacco like products must therefore be counterbalanced with strong regulations as well as medical professionals utilizing their influence to help adolescents avoid the use of these products.”
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