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E-cigarettes which have become popular among Adults, are not to be used by Children: US Health Official

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of the devices to anyone under 18 earlier this year

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FILE - A smoker exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at the Vapor Spot, in Sacramento, California, in this July 7, 2015, photo. VOA

December 9, 2016: E-cigarettes should not be used by kids, the top U.S. health official says.

The devices, which have become popular among adults looking for a healthier alternative to smoking, not only deliver nicotine but also can emit toxic substances like lead, diacetyl and nickel, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy who released a report on the devices.

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“All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” Murthy said. “Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of the devices to anyone under 18 earlier this year.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said makers of e-cigs are directly targeting kids with exotic flavors and hip marketing. They have become the most popular nicotine delivery system among young people.

“The use of products containing nicotine poses dangers to youth, pregnant women and fetuses. The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe,” according to the Surgeon General’s report.

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Elaborating on the report, Murthy said there is confusion surrounding the safety of e-cigs.

“E-cigarettes went from being rare in 2010 to being the most common tobacco product used among our youth,” he said. “It also threatens 50 years of hard-fought progress we made curbing tobacco use.”

The U.S. government released a report in 2015 saying that one in six high school students used an e-cig within the last month.

“The report finds that, while nicotine is a highly addictive drug at any age, youth and young adults are uniquely vulnerable to the long-term consequences of exposing the brain to nicotine, and concludes that youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe,” the Health and Human Services Department said.

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Those views were echoed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Nicotine … is highly addictive and has clear neurotoxic effects,” Dr. Benard Dreyer, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics said at a news conference. “E-cigarettes have the potential to addict the next generation and it’s a major public health concern to us.”

Murthy added that parents, teachers and healthcare providers need to make sure kids know e-cigarettes are not safe.

“Today’s report gives them the facts about how these products can be harmful to young people’s health,” he said. (VOA)

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Banning e-cigarettes But Not Tobacco is Contradictory: Industry

Studies conducted by Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians have observed “that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking and is of negligible risk to bystanders,” she said

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FILE - A customer exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at a store in New York, Feb. 20, 2014. VOA

Even as Gujarat on Wednesday joined an increasing number of states banning e-cigarettes, a country-wide association of importers, distributors, and marketers of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) device have called upon the Union Health Ministry not to rush into a national ban unilaterally without examining the facts and consulting stakeholders.

The association, Trade Representatives of ENDS in India (TRENDS), found it ironical that several states and even the Centre were considering a ban on e-cigarettes while actual tobacco, cigarette and beedi sales was officially open, though these products were proven to be severely injurious to health.

Praveen Rikhy, convener of TRENDS asserted in a memorandum submitted to the Union Health Ministry that, “Asking for a ban on e-cigarettes and not cigarettes or beedis would mean asking for a ban on a less harmful nicotine delivery system while allowing a more harmful one free market availability”.

“This is fundamentally unsustainable as a policy or a public health imperative or even in law and consumer rights. This is also in stark contrast and regressive when compared with the fact that developed economies are regulating ENDS and many see the category as complementary to their tobacco control goals,” she added.

Rikhy went on, “Today, all G7 countries and 34 out of 36 OECD countries have regulated and formalised sale, distribution, marketing and manufacture of ENDS”.

“A ban will end up opening up the black market and create room for substandard unregulated products. It would be of utmost importance to the Health Ministry to not be seen as creating such a market scenario”, she added.

The association on Tuesday evening made a submission to this effect to Secretary of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with a copy to Union Health Minister Harshvardhan. It said the concerns were based on recent media reports suggesting that the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) was likely to move a proposal to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and distribution of ENDS, including e-cigarettes, as well as their import under Sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

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FILE – An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

The TRENDS stated that these devices were not “drugs” as they are not promoted or intended to be of any therapeutic value. “They do not mitigate or prevent smoking but are an option for a habitual smoker who would like to switch to a non-combustible version.”

ENDS are micro-battery-powered devices, commonly known as e-cigarettes that simulate the sensation of smoking.

According to the association, during “the last few years, these products have emerged as a viable substitute to combustible cigarettes as they do not contain tobacco and do not involve combustion, and consequently, have significantly lower or negligible tobacco residue (commonly ‘tar’), carbon monoxide or other known carcinogens that are present in cigarette smoke.”

Rikhy said: “We believe that strong reasons exist for the government to re-examine its stand vis-à-vis ENDS. We would request the government to objectively consider the benefits and harms related to the product and initiate open consultation, which will help to better inform its decision for the ENDS category”.

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“We are also ethically committed not to market our products to minors and pregnant women and are ready to work with the Indian Government to ensure enforcement of legal purchase age and valid label warnings, training and awareness against harmful use.”

Studies conducted by Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians have observed “that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking and is of negligible risk to bystanders,” she said. (IANS)