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Cancer organizations call for regulation of e-cigarettes

Jan. 15, 2015, 8:44 AM

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are calling for regulation of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems. (iStock)

Two leading cancer organizations are calling for regulation of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued the joint statement calling for greater oversight of the products and more research about their effects on the long-term health of users.

“As a physician-scientist who treats patients with cancer, I am concerned about the delayed time course that’s needed to assess the adverse impacts of ENDS use,” said Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies and the Breast Cancer Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Arteaga is serving as president of the AACR this year.

“Therefore, although we call for additional research to determine with certainty the potential negative public health consequences of these products, particularly in youth, we cannot afford to wait to take prudent steps to stop those under 18 from using e-cigarettes.

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D.

“This is especially important since e-cigarette use is growing fast among this age group, as reported in the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey,” Arteaga said.

According to the cancer groups, tobacco use is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths and is associated with increased risk for at least 18 types of cancer.

E-cigarettes and other ENDS, which are capable of delivering a nicotine solution in aerosolized form, have been promoted as potential tobacco cessation products and safer alternatives to cigarettes.

However, e-cigarettes are currently unregulated and it is unclear if the chemicals used in the products are safe.

There is also no current scientific consensus on the effectiveness of ENDS as a smoking cessation tool.

ASCO and AACR are calling for FDA regulation of e-cigarettes, vaporizers and other ENDS, safety labels on packaging warning about nicotine addiction and prohibition of any advertising or marketing to youths. They also recommend child-proof caps for all liquid nicotine containers.

As a smoke-free campus, Vanderbilt University amended the smoking policy in 2014 and added e-cigarettes and vaporizers to the list of items that are banned inside facilities and which may be used only in outdoor designated areas.

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