Cigarettes have long been associated with cancer, and the American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 90% of cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
But the American Medical Association, a group of the nation’s top doctors, has warned that e-cigarette use is dangerous because of the risks posed by nicotine, which can cause heart attacks, strokes and even death.
“While it is true that smoking cigarettes has been linked to lung cancer, e-cigs pose no such risk,” AMA President and CEO Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote in a letter to the FDA earlier this month.
“The evidence supporting the safety of e-cig use is overwhelming, and we do not expect that the FDA will alter its decision to approve new e-liquids for sale.”
The FDA, Murthy said, is not “taking a position” on whether or not e-Cigarettes should be allowed in cigarettes.
“We do not have a position on whether e-liquid cigarettes should be permitted in cigarettes,” he wrote.
“For that matter, we have no position on nicotine-containing e-products.”
The American Lung Association, the nations largest public health organization, released a statement Wednesday that urged the FDA to keep its options open.
“If the FDA does decide to permit e-smokers to buy cigarettes, we would urge the agency to do so in a manner that protects public health and safety, including the ability of consumers to make informed choices,” the statement read.
“By permitting e-commerce sales of tobacco products, the FDA could help provide relief for smokers and their loved ones who need support, while encouraging healthier alternatives to smoking cigarettes.”
But FDA Commissioner Andrew Weiss said the agency is “not taking a position at this time.”
“The FDA is committed to supporting responsible e-smoking,” he said in a statement.
“It is up to the states to craft regulations that best protect public health.”
The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the sale of eCigarette products, which could allow e-vaporists to sell their products in public places, such as restaurants and retail outlets.
The Obama administration’s proposal would allow states to prohibit e-sales at restaurants and other places where smoking is allowed, and it would allow eCigs to be sold in private locations, such a gas station and a convenience store.