Two Societies Issue Statements on E-Cigarettes

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Today, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced an update to the organization’s position on e-cigarettes, and the American Medical Association (AMA) called for a total ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products that do not meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as cessation tools.

American Cancer Society

The ACS revision seeks to clarify ACS guidelines in light of recent spikes in e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, combined with little regulation of the products by the FDA.

The ACS’s new, clarified position is:

  • No youth or young adult should begin using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. The ACS encourages young people currently using these products to ask for help in quitting and to quit as soon as possible.
  • The ACS believes e-cigarettes should not be used to quit smoking. No e-cigarette has been approved as a safe and effective cessation product by the FDA. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, pose a risk to the health of the user.
  • Additionally, current e-cigarette users should not also smoke cigarettes or switch to smoking cigarettes, and former smokers now using e-cigarettes should not revert to smoking. Beginning smoking or vaping or switching from e-cigarettes to smoking exposes the user to potentially devastating health effects.

The guideline update was approved by the ACS’s Board of Directors at their November 2019 meeting.

“Since [the] ACS first released a position statement on e-cigarettes in 2018, the landscape for tobacco control and these products has shifted significantly,” said Gary Reedy, Chief Executive Officer of the ACS. “We committed then to revisiting the position as required to reflect new scientific data and public health trends.”

Read the ACS’s full e-cigarette position statement.

American Medical Association

In the wake of the recent lung illness outbreak linked to more than 2,000 illnesses and over 40 deaths across the country and a spike in youth e-cigarette use, today, the AMA called for a total ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products that do not meet FDA approval as cessation tools. At the Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, physicians, residents, and medical students from across the country voted to adopt policies building on the AMA’s longtime efforts to prevent another generation from becoming dependent on nicotine.

The new policies include the following:

  • Urgently advocate for regulatory, legislative, and/or legal action at the federal and/or state levels to ban the sale and distribution of all e-cigarette and vaping products, with the exception of those approved by the FDA for tobacco cessation purposes and made available by prescription only.
  • Advocate for research funding to study the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarette and vaping products for tobacco cessation purposes.
  • Call for immediate and thorough study of the use of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment strategies for tobacco use disorder and nicotine dependence resulting from the use of noncombustible and combustible tobacco products in populations under the age of 18.
  • Actively collaborate with health-care professionals, particularly pharmacists and other health-care team members, to persuade retail pharmacies to immediately cease sales of tobacco products.
  • Advocate for diagnostic codes for e-cigarette– and vaping-associated illnesses, including pulmonary toxicity.

“The recent lung illness outbreak has alarmed physicians and the broader public health community and shined a light on the fact that we have very little evidence about the short- and long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes and vaping products,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA. “It’s simple—we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people and that’s why we are calling for an immediate ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products from the market. With the number of young people using e-cigarettes spiking, it is not only critical that there is research into nicotine addiction treatments for this population, but it is imperative that we continue efforts to prevent youth from ever using nicotine.”