(HealthNewsDigest.com) - CHICAGO - Concerned by the alarming growth in use of electronic cigarettes among minors, the American Medical Association (AMA) today called for reining in the sale and marketing practices of companies that produce electronic nicotine delivery systems. The nation's largest physician organization adopted new policy at the AMA Annual Meeting opposing the sales and marketing of electronic cigarettes and nicotine delivery products to minors.
The new policy extends AMA's existing policy adopted in 2010 that calls for all electronic cigarettes to be subject to the same regulations and oversight that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) applies to tobacco and nicotine products.
"The AMA supports an FDA proposal to fill the gap in federal regulations on purchasing, labeling, packaging and advertising of electronic cigarettes," said incoming AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D. "The new policy will guide the AMA's future efforts to strongly encourage the proposed FDA regulation as a notable and important step to improve public health and deter the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that use of electronic cigarettes by students in the nation's middle and high schools has more than doubled from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent in 2012.
In addition to minimum purchase age restrictions, the new AMA policy supports the following product requirements for electronic cigarettes and nicotine delivery systems:
Disclosures regarding the design, content and emissions;
Child-proof and tamper-proof packaging and design;
Enhanced product labeling;
Restrictions related to flavors that appeal to minors; and
Prohibition of unsupported marketing claims as a tobacco cessation tool.
The AMA also strongly encourages further development of strategies to prevent marketing of electronic cigarettes and nicotine delivery systems to minors and stem the negative health effects of nicotine on minors.
"Improving the health of the nation is AMA's top priority and we will continue to advocate for policies that help reduce the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which can both be linked to smoking," Dr. Wah said.
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