In the wake of the recent lung illness outbreak linked to more than 2,000 illnesses and over 40 deaths across the country and a spike in youth e-cigarette use, the American Medical Association (AMA) today called for a total ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products that do not meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as cessation tools. At the Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, physicians, residents, and medical students from across the country voted to adopt policies on the AMA’s longtime efforts to prevent another generation from becoming dependent on nicotine.
The new policies include:
Urgently advocate for regulatory, legislative, and/or legal action at the federal and/or state levels to ban the sale and distribution of all e-cigarette and vaping products, with the exception of those approved by the FDA for tobacco cessation purposes and made available by prescription only;
Advocate for research funding to study the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarette and vaping products for tobacco cessation purposes;
Call for immediate and thorough study of the use of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment strategies for tobacco use disorder and nicotine dependence resulting from the use of non-combustible and combustible tobacco products in populations under the age of 18;
Actively collaborate with health care professionals, particularly pharmacists and other health care team members, to persuade retail pharmacies to immediately cease sales of tobacco products;
Advocate for diagnostic codes for e-cigarette and vaping associated illnesses, including pulmonary toxicity
“The recent lung illness outbreak has alarmed physicians and the broader public health community and shined a light on the fact that we have very little evidence about the short- and long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes and vaping products,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “It’s simple – we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people and that’s why we are calling for an immediate ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products from the market. With the number of young people using e-cigarettes spiking it is not only critical that there is research into nicotine addiction treatments for this population, but it is imperative that we continue efforts to prevent youth from ever using nicotine.”
For the past five decades, the AMA has championed seminal anti-tobacco efforts, including prohibiting smoking in public places and on public transportation and airplanes, and calling on tobacco companies to stop targeting children in their advertising campaigns. In addition to the new policies above, the AMA has called on media organizations to reject advertising that markets e-cigarette products to young people, supported laws setting the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, at 21, and urged e-commerce CEOs to vigorously enforce their existing policies to keep illicit vaping products off their platforms.
“Since declaring e-cigarette use and vaping an urgent public health epidemic in 2018, the AMA has pushed for more stringent policies to help protect our nation’s young people from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine use. For decades we have led the public health fight to combat the harmful effects of tobacco products, and we will continue to support policies and regulations aimed at preventing another generation from becoming dependent on nicotine,” said Dr. Harris.