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CHICAGO—As the popularity of electronic cigarettes continues to grow among the nation’s youth, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy at its Annual Meeting this week to further strengthen its support of regulatory oversight of electronic cigarettes. The new policy urges the federal government to take action to ensure consumers are aware of the ingredients and nicotine content in e-cigarettes, e-cigarette cartridges and e-liquid refills.
“Given that e-cigarette cartridge manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients contained in their products, we are concerned that consumers have an inaccurate reflection of the amount of nicotine and type of substances they’re inhaling when using e-cigarettes. We urge the federal government to move quickly to regulate e-cigarettes and require manufacturers to list the ingredients and nicotine content on product labels—further delaying regulation will only serve to put youth at further risk,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “The AMA will continue to advocate for more stringent policies to help keep all harmful tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, out of the hands of our nation’s youth.”
Research shows that the use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth—including e-cigarettes—is unsafe and can cause addiction. To address concerns about unknown ingredients in e-cigarettes, the new policy specifically calls for prohibiting the sale of any e-cigarette cartridges and e-liquid refills that do not include a complete list of ingredients on its packaging, and requiring that the accurate nicotine content of e-cigarettes, e-cigarette cartridges, and e-liquid refills be prominently displayed on the product labels alongside the soon to be required warning, which states that nicotine is an addictive chemical.
According to the latest data, the use of e-cigarettes, hookah, non-cigarette combustible tobacco, or smokeless tobacco by youth is associated with cigarette smoking one year later. Furthermore, the risk of progressing to conventional cigarette smoking is increased with use of multiple forms of non-cigarette tobacco, suggesting that novel tobacco products have the potential to undermine public health gains in combatting the smoking epidemic.
E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle school and high school students for the fourth year in a row in 2017. Among youth who had used an e-cigarette 17 percent indicated their reason for use was that they are less harmful than other forms of tobacco such as cigarettes.
For the last five decades, the AMA has been a proud supporter of anti-tobacco efforts ranging from urging the federal government to support anti-tobacco legislation prohibiting smoking on public transportation to calling on tobacco companies to stop targeting children in their advertising campaigns.
Improving the health of the nation is AMA’s top priority and we will continue to advocate for policies that help reduce the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes—both of which can both be linked to smoking.
E-Cigarettes are not safe, but my experience is that used properly they can do a better job of getting folks to quit tobacco. There are about 700 toxins in tobacco, about 100 times what is in the nicotine liquid alone (unflavored).