by on September 30, 2013

in Uncategorized

Here is the latest development re e cigarettes in youth  (letter from the Chicago Tribune written by the Presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Lung Association)

Harmful tobacco products

Four years ago the Food and Drug Administration took a major step to protect children from the dangers of tobacco by preventing the sale of candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes. The move was an important piece of the Tobacco Control Act, a law that we strongly support and that has made notable progress in reducing the harmful effects of tobacco.

Regretfully, four years later, children still have access to flavored tobacco products, notably cigars and e-cigarettes. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released alarming new information that use of e-cigarettes among middle school and high school students has doubled in just one year; now, 1 in 10 youths have used an e-cigarette.

Minors are legally allowed to purchase e-cigarettes in more than half of states nationwide, but Illinois is not one of them. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law in August that will prohibit their sale to anyone under 18 by Jan, 1. But children across the country remain vulnerable to e-cigarettes and the federal prohibition on youth purchase of tobacco products must be extended to e-cigarettes.

While the Tobacco Control Act allowed the FDA to immediately regulate cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, it required the FDA to initiate rule-making if it wanted to expand its reach to all tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes. However, there has yet to be any action from the Obama administration to initiate oversight of these products. As a result, cigars and e-cigarettes are still out of FDA’s reach, despite the fact that they are marketed to attract young people, many using candy and fruit flavors like cotton candy, grape, gummy bear and strawberry. This is especially troubling because lifelong nicotine addiction most often starts in childhood, making tobacco a major threat to children’s health, regardless of the form it takes.

As leaders of national organizations dedicated to reducing the number of people who die each year from smoking and from secondhand smoke exposure — an estimated 443,000 — we call on the Obama administration to immediately propose the crucial rules needed to give FDA authority to do its job.

Proponents of e-cigarettes argue that they are safer than cigarettes and can help smokers quit. However, the FDA has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in doing so. There are many unanswered questions about e-cigarettes. It is the very intent of the Tobacco Control Act to entrust FDA to evaluate all tobacco products and act accordingly to protect public health.

Dr. Thomas K. McInerny, president, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village

Harold P. Wimmer, national president and CEO, American Lung Association, Chicago

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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