The American Medical Association (AMA) is has adopted a new policy during the AMA Interim Meeting that supports regulations that would establish the minimum legal purchase age for electronic cigarettes of 18 years old, place marketing restrictions on manufacturers, and prohibit claims that electronic cigarettes are effective tobacco cessation tools.

According to estimates from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, electronic cigarette use among middle school and high school students in the US has grown at a rapid rate in recent years. The prevalence of “ever trying” an electronic cigarette doubled among both of these groups from 2011 to 2012. The survey also found that more than 263,000 middle and high school students who had never before smoked reported using electronic cigarettes in 2013, a threefold increase from 79,000 in 2011.

“The AMA supports the FDA’s proposed rule to regulate electronic cigarettes, and we urge the federal government to implement more stringent regulations that will further protect our nation’s youth and overall public health,” said AMA Member William E. Kobler, MD. “The new policy will continue the AMA’s efforts to deter the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and ensure the necessary regulation of nicotine delivery systems.”

Many health professionals are concerned about the potential harmful health effects of acute and chronic inhalation of the vaporized chemicals found in electronic cigarettes, including nicotine, propylene glycol (a known irritant when inhaled), and other chemicals often of unknown dose and identity.

Evidence-based policies and regulations are needed that protect the entire population (children and adults, smokers and nonsmokers) in the context of how the electronic cigarette industry is marketing and promoting these products. The AMA’s expanded policy aims to further strengthen the regulation of electronic cigarettes and nicotine delivery systems, including the following:

  • Require transparency and disclosure concerning product design, contents, and emissions; and prohibit the use of characterizing flavors that may enhance the appeal of such products to youth
  • Apply the same marketing and sales restrictions that are applied to tobacco cigarettes
  • Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes by patients, visitors and health care personnel in hospitals and other health care institutions
  • Prohibit use in all places that tobacco cigarette use is prohibited
  • Require the use of secure, child- and tamper-proof packaging and design

“The AMA encourages the FDA to act swiftly to assert jurisdiction over electronic cigarettes and issue regulations regarding their manufacture and prohibiting their marketing and sale, particularly to youth and current nonsmokers,” said Dr Kobler.

Source: American Medical Association