The American Medical Association called for a ban on all vaping products that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an aid to quit smoking. On Tuesday, the group voted to adopt a set of policies aimed at boosting “efforts to prevent another generation from becoming dependent on nicotine.”
Among those policies is a call for urgent action to ban e-cigarette and vaping products at the federal and/or state levels, excluding those approved to help smokers quit using tobacco. Under the proposed ban such smoking cessation products would be made available by prescription only. However, the FDA has not approved any such products as smoking cessation products.
“The recent lung illness outbreak has alarmed physicians and the broader 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,” Dr. Patrice Harris, AMA president, said in a press release.
“It’s simple – we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people and that’s why we're calling for an immediate ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products from the market," Harris said. "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.”
But not everyone is in favor of an all-out ban on such products, suggesting that it may drive consumers back toward tobacco products.
“I would 100 percent be with the AMA if they were seeking a ban on all tobacco products that are smoked, including e-cigarettes,” Jonathan Foulds, a tobacco addiction specialist at Penn State University, told The Associated Press. “But right now, nicotine electronic cigarettes are competing with and replacing the most harmful legal product in the country.”
Also on Tuesday, New York state followed California's lead and filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs alleging that the company used deceptive and misleading marketing to target teens, and failed to inform them of the harmful health effects associated with its products. The state has raised the age requirement to purchase e-cigarette products to 21, joining 17 others who have done so.
At least 42 deaths have been died to vaping-related illnesses, with health officials tallying an additional 2,172 probable or confirmed lung injury cases nationwide. The CDC for the first time last week named vitamin E acetate, which is found in THC-containing vape products, as the possible culprit in the outbreak after ongoing investigations.
The health agency said the chemical compound, which is also used as a nutritional supplement and is derived from vitamin E, was found in the lung fluid from 29 patients tested in a government lab.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.