An anti-smoking group is reigniting its pressure on the FDA to study the safety, ingredients, and potential health impacts on consumers of electronic cigarettes. The Hill reports that the request from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network comes after the release of a CDC study that found one in five U.S. adult cigarette smokers have tried an electronic cigarette.
Overall, about 6% of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010. The CDC study is the first to report changes in awareness and use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and 2011.
During 2010–2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic Whites, those aged 45–54 years, those living in the South, and current and former smokers. In both 2010 and 2011, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers. Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about four in 10 adults in 2010 to six in 10 adults in 2011.
The CDC noted that although e-cigarettes appear to have far fewer of the toxins found in smoke compared to traditional cigarettes, the impact of e-cigarettes on long-term health must be studied. “If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, rather than using e-cigarettes to quit smoking completely, the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC.
Chris Hansen, president of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said his group is calling on the FDA to “determine if e-cigarettes are safe for use and whether they can help youth and adults avoid actual cigarettes or quit the habit. We also urge the FDA to test these products to determine their potential as cessation aids so consumers have the best information available when deciding how to quit.”
Meanwhile, the electronic cigarette industry is fighting back against the calls for increased regulations, notes The Hill. In January, The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) petitioned the White House to prevent the FDA from regulating or banning the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, accessories, and associated liquids. A reply to the petition from the White House is pending. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)