AAP Urges Strong Regulation of e-Cigarettes
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As the popularity of e-cigarettes soars among teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday recommended that they be strongly regulated and not sold to those younger than 21.
The AAP is urging the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems the same as other tobacco products. The AAP is pushing for age restrictions on their sale as well as taxes, bans on advertising to youth and bans on flavored products that are appeal to youth.
Among middle and high school students e-cigarette use has tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Why? Teens view e-cigarettes trendy and cool. “Vaping”— using battery operated devices that deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquids — has a techy allure. E-cigs are relatively affordable and are often endorsed by celebrities. But critics say these products are marketed at youth — often with fruit and “dessert” flavor — who don’t fully understand the risks.
“The developing brains of children and teens are particularly vulnerable to nicotine, which is why the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among adolescents is so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health,” Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Tobacco Control and section head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said in an AAP statement.
To safeguard children and youth, the AAP on Monday announced the following recommendations and statements among others:
- Child-resistant packaging is critically needed to protect curious young children from exposure to liquid nicotine. Liquid nicotine is extremely toxic; as little as half a teaspoon can be fatal if ingested by an average sized toddler. In 2014, there were more than 3,000 calls to U.S. poison control centers for liquid nicotine exposure, and one toddler died.
- Smoke-free laws that already govern secondhand smoke should be expanded to include e-cigarettes. The aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes is not harmless; it contains a variety of toxic chemicals, including some carcinogens and significant amounts of nicotine. Parents should not use e-cigarettes around their children.
- There is no scientific evidence that supports the efficacy or safety of e-cigarettes as a tobacco dependence treatment product. E-cigarette use among teens is associated with a higher likelihood of using regular tobacco and lower rates of smoking cessation. In 2014, more young adults reported using e-cigarettes than any other tobacco product.
In an effort to cut the numbers of youth who begin to smoke or use other tobacco products, the AAP is recommending regulations to increase prices on tobacco products. It also supports a ban on smoking and other tobacco products that produce toxic emission in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and health care facilities, and in places where children live, learn and play.
Smoking "regular" cigarettes may have lost some of its appeal, but e-cigs is a rapidly growing insidious threat to threat to impressionable youth, and a habit they may spend a lifetime trying to quit. For advice on keeping your kids steer clear of these dangers, visit this link.
The U.S. Fire Administration has published a downloadable PDF discussing the dangers of e-cigarettes called "Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions" that offers helpful tips and information.