(HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should ban flavorings and television advertisements for e-cigarettes, according to a position paper released by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and published in the April 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
There is scant evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking, as claimed by manufacturers. And the chemicals used in these devices may be harmful to both smokers and bystanders, Ryan Crowley, senior associate for health policy at the ACP, told HealthDay. “There are over 7,000 different flavorings in e-cigarettes, and the evidence shows that young people are attracted to these products because of the flavors,” Crowley said. “There are also concerns that there are harmful chemicals in the flavorings themselves.”
Crowley added that calling for a ban on television advertisements for e-cigarettes follows ACP’s continuing policy supporting bans on all tobacco advertising. The organization also recommends taxing e-cigarettes and banning their use in both indoor and outdoor public areas, and urges more research on e-cigarettes. The ACP joins a number of other organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the U.S. Surgeon General — in urging the FDA to start regulating e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are growing in popularity, with global sales expected to surpass $50 billion in the next 15 years, Crowley said.
The e-cigarette industry, however, sees the ACP’s recommendations as overreaching. “The ACP’s policy recommendations read like a step-by-step guide to handing the vapor industry over to ‘Big Tobacco’ and making vaping a less effective alternative to smoking,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, told HealthDay. “The ACP justifies this by cherry-picking studies that support its ideology, while ignoring many of those that do not.”