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AACR, ASCO, two leading U.S. cancer organizations, call for regulation of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems

The (AACR) and the () have outlined steps in a joint statement to guide policymakers as they work to minimize the potential negative consequences of (e-cigarettes) and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) without undermining their potential to reduce harm as a smoking cessation tool. The two organizations’ recommendations were published in the AACR’s Clinical Cancer Research and ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“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, MD, AACR president, and professor of medicine and cancer biology and director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies and the Breast Cancer Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “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. 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.”

“We are concerned that e-cigarettes may encourage nonsmokers, particularly children, to start smoking and develop nicotine addiction. While e-cigarettes may reduce smoking rates and attendant adverse health risks, we will not know for sure until these products are researched and regulated,” said Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO, ASCO president. “The FDA has signaled its willingness to regulate e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems, and we urge the agency to follow through on this intention.”

According to the statement, tobacco use constitutes the largest preventable cause of death and disability in developed countries and is a rapidly growing health problem in developing nations. It 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 combustible cigarettes. At the present time, however, insufficient data exist on the health consequences of ENDS use and their value as tobacco cessation aids.