The American Medical Association on 19 November called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices that don't meet US Food and Drug Administration approval as cessation tools, citing a surge in underage teen use of the products as well as the recent outbreak in lung illnesses, reports Associated Press for CBS News.
But so far, none of the products have been reviewed or approved for that use by the FDA.
The group adopted the sweeping stance at a policy-making meeting in San Diego. It aims to lobby for state and federal laws, regulations or legal action to achieve a ban – but the industry is sure to fight back.
The American Medical Association (AMA) cited the lack of evidence about the short- and long-term health impact of e-cigarettes and vaping products in making the call for a total ban. The doctors' group said a separate health issue also prompted its action – the recent U.S. outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping. Most of those sickened said they vaped THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana, not nicotine. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black market THC vaping products may be a culprit.
About 2,100 people have got sick; 42 have died.
"It's simple, we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people," Dr Patrice Harris, AMA's president, said in a statement reported by Associated Press and CBC News.
The AMA has previously sought bans on e-cigarette flavours and ads. At the same time, some states, municipalities and corporations are seeking to limit the products, with Massachusetts lawmakers set to vote on a bill that would ban flavoured tobacco. That measure is aimed at reducing vaping among teens, with researchers finding that five million children and teens are now using the products.
Some observers say the AMA's position is flawed and has little chance of achieving a sweeping ban, report Associated Press and CBC News.
"I would be 100% with the AMA if they were seeking a ban on all tobacco products that are smoked, including e-cigarettes," said Jonathan Foulds, a tobacco addiction specialist at Penn State University. "But right now, nicotine electronic cigarettes are competing with and replacing the most harmful legal product in this country."
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a pro-vaping advocacy group, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made clear that its focus "is not store-bought nicotine vaping products, but illicit contaminated THC oil cartridges sold by drug dealers."
"It would be a mistake for adult smokers and their families to listen to these misguided prohibitionists, as the evidence continues to indicate that adult smokers who switch to nicotine vaping products greatly improve their health," Conley said.
The AMA policy calls for a ban of vaping products not approved to help people quit. But so far, the FDA hasn't approved any for that purpose.
Full report on the CBC News site:AMA calls for total ban on all vaping and e-cigarette products