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US Medical Group Calls for Total Ban on E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products

A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019.
A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019.
US Medical Group Calls for Total Ban on E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products
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The American Medical Association has called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.

The group made the policy decision at a meeting Tuesday in San Diego, California. It aims to push for state and federal laws and legal action to put a ban in place.

However, the industry is sure to fight back.

The AMA cited a quick rise in use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices among young people. The devices heat a liquid into a gas or vapor. Most products contain nicotine.

“It’s simple, we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people,” Dr. Patrice Harris, AMA’s president, said in a statement.

The doctors’ group added that it has another reason for taking the position — the recent U.S. spread of lung diseases linked to vaping. Most of those sickened said they vaped THC, the part of marijuana that creates a “high” –- not nicotine.

Officials believe a thickening substance used in illegally sold THC vaping products may have caused the lung conditions. About 2,100 people have gotten sick. Forty-two people have died.

The disease spread has “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,” Harris said.

The AMA has also sought bans on e-cigarette flavors and advertisements.

Some observers say the AMA’s position has problems. And they say there is little chance of gaining a full federal ban.

Jonathan Foulds is a tobacco dependency specialist at Penn State University. He said he would support the AMA's position “if they were seeking a ban on all tobacco products that are smoked, including e-cigarettes.”

But he added, “right now, nicotine electronic cigarettes are competing with and replacing the most harmful legal product in this country.”

Gregory Conley is president of the American Vaping Association. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it clear that its concern is black market THC oil containers sold by drug dealers. He said it would be a mistake to listen to “misguided” supporters of a ban.

He said, “The evidence continues to indicate that adult smokers who switch to nicotine vaping products greatly improve their health."

The AMA policy calls for a ban on vaping products not approved to help people quit. That would mean a ban on all vaping products, as there are no products approved as such in the United States.

Stephanie Caccomo, an FDA press officer, said the agency promises to do “everything we can to prevent kids from using tobacco products.”

Juul Labs, the nation’s biggest e-cigarette maker, did not immediately answer a request for comment from the AP.

E-cigarettes first appeared in the United States more than 10 years ago and are popular today. Possible long-term effects of vaping are unknown.

The FDA has been widely criticized for repeatedly delaying its plan to begin examining thousands of vaping products on the market. The start of the investigation is now set for May 2020.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

vaping - n. the action of breathing in and breathing out the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device

nicotine - n. a poisonous substance in tobacco that makes it difficult for people to stop smoking cigarettes

consequence - n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

flavor - n. the quality of something that you can taste

black market - n. a system through which things are bought and sold illegally

indicate - v. to show that (something) exists or is true