In a joint statement, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research have called on the federal government to move quickly to regulate e-cigarettes and increase research on their health effects.
These leading research and treatment organizations asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make final proposed regulations for “electronic nicotine delivery systems.” Peter Paul Yu, president of the 35,000-member oncology society, said the groups’ members “are concerned that e-cigarettes may encourage nonsmokers, particularly children, to start smoking and develop nicotine addiction,” the journal Science reports. The cancer research society, with 33,000 members, expressed the need for research into the health effects of e-cigarettes. Manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes help reduce smoking rates and are safe, but, Yu said, “we will not know for sure until these products are researched and regulated.”
The regulations were proposed in April 2014 but have not yet been made final. The provisions include a ban on claims of health benefits for e-cigarettes unless such claims are backed by research. The regulations would bar vending machine sales of e-cigarettes and the distribution of free samples. E-cigarettes would be required to carry health warnings, according to Science.
The statement asks that e-cigarette makers be required to register their products with the FDA and identify the levels of chemicals and nicotine they contain. In addition, the organizations want manufacturers to take steps to stop teenagers from vaping, according to Science. Antismoking activists argue that vaping may be a “gateway habit,” eventually leading nonsmokers to cigarette smoking. A 2014 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that 17 percent of high school seniors say they vaped at least once a month, compared with 14 percent who admit to cigarette smoking. Tenth graders had a vaping rate of 16 percent, more than twice their rate of smoking.