The American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology jointly released recommendations calling for stricter electronic cigarette regulations.
The AACR stated there is a great need for research into e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems, in a press release. While preliminary information shows the devices could lower traditional cigarette smoking rates and manufacturers state they are safer than traditional combustion cigarettes, both organizations point out the true effects of the electronic products and their potential carcinogenic qualities are unknown.
While research is needed, the AACR and ASCO both believe regulations should not wait for data, which may come too late for people who could be harmed by the products. The organizations are worried the products will encourage nonsmokers to pick up the habit, particularly children under 18, increasing nicotine addiction rates. To prevent harm to teens, the groups contend regulations are needed right away.
Currently, e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which controls the quality and sale of tobacco and tobacco products. This means there are no federal regulations against the sale of such devices to minors and there are no quality control standards in place.
The AACR and ASCO stated federal lawmakers should set regulations for the manufacturing, distribution, sale and advertising of electronic nicotine systems. The organizations state the advice is meant to mitigate the potential negative health effects of e-cigarettes and electronic systems while also promoting the devices if they are found to be a viable smoking cessation tool.
Some specific regulations the AACR and ASCO suggested are:
- Requiring electronic nicotine device manufacturers to register with the FDA.
- Prohibiting the use of electronic devices where traditional cigarettes are banned.
- Using funding from tobacco product taxes to fund research regarding electronic nicotine devices.
- Disseminating data regarding ingredients and health effects found through research to advise public policy.
Will regulations happen soon enough?
Stanton Glantz, the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education the University of California, San Francisco stated it could take years for the FDA to fully regulate e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine devices, the American Association for the Advancement of Science stated. New federal regulations must go through a long process before they can be approved and implemented. Glantz believes more restrictions will be seen at the local level.