Saturday, September 14, 2013

Health official: e-cig use doubles among kids

The Tampa Tribune - Highlands Today
Gary Pinnell

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The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling," Frieden said. "Nicotine is highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to stuggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."

However, Gregory Conley found Frieden's statement to be disingenuous. Those teens in the survey admitted to trying e-cigs, not to using every day.

"That's the true hallmark of addiction. It's extremely misleading, and it's done in a political way, to get the FDA to issue harsh regulations," said Conley, legislative director, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives.

"About 90 percent of all smokers begin as teenagers," said Dr. Tim McAfee, the CDC's director of the Office on Smoking and Health. "We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product."

So far, neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulates e-cigarettes. Nor does the state of Florida. Twenty states have banned e-cigarette sales to minors.

Conley advocates banning e-cigarette sales to minors, however. "That has been our goal."

There's no evidence, Conley cited expert and academic studies, that e-vapor is harmful. Even if e-vapor contains nicotine, he pointed out that nicotine - while addictive - isn't a carcinogen. That's why the FDA allows nicotine gum and nicotine patches.

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