Sunday September 15, 2019

US Health Officials Restrict Sales of E-Cigarettes

The new guidelines, first proposed in November, are the latest government effort to reverse what health officials call an epidemic of underage vaping

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FILE - A woman smokes an electronic cigarette in London, Aug. 19, 2015. VOA

U.S. health regulators are moving ahead with a plan designed to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers by restricting sales of most flavored products in convenience stores and online.

The new guidelines, first proposed in November, are the latest government effort to reverse what health officials call an epidemic of underage vaping.

E-cigarettes typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. Federal law bans their sale to those under 18, but 1 in 5 high school students report using e-cigarettes, according to the latest survey published last year.

Under proposed guidelines released Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarette makers would restrict sales of most flavored products to stores that verify the age of customers entering the store or include a separate, age-restricted area for vaping products. Companies would also be expected to use third-party identity-verification technology for online sales.

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Companies that don’t follow the requirements risk having their products pulled from the market, the FDA said. Pixabay

Companies that don’t follow the requirements risk having their products pulled from the market, the FDA said.

“The onus is now on the companies and the vaping industry to work with us to try and bring down these levels of youth use, which are simply intolerable,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview. The restrictions won’t apply to three flavors that the FDA says appeal more to adults than teenagers: tobacco, menthol and mint.

The FDA will accept comments on the guidelines for 30 days before finalizing them later this year.

Anti-smoking activists have questioned whether the in-store restrictions will be enough to stop the unprecedented surge in teen vaping. The FDA has little authority over how stores display and sell vaping products. Instead, critics say the agency is essentially telling companies to self-police where and how their products are sold.

“FDA continues to nibble around the edges and that will not end the epidemic,” said Erika Sward, of the American Lung Association, which has called on the FDA to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

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Health experts say nicotine is harmful to developing brains, and some researchers worry that addicted teens will eventually switch from vaping to smoking. Pixabay

Health experts say nicotine is harmful to developing brains, and some researchers worry that addicted teens will eventually switch from vaping to smoking.

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Under regulations developed by the Obama administration, manufacturers were supposed to submit e-cigarettes for safety and health review by August 2018. But Gottlieb delayed the deadline until 2022, saying both the agency and industry needed more time to prepare. Under Wednesday’s update, the FDA will move the deadline to 2021.

Still, the American Lung Association and several other anti-smoking groups are suing the FDA to begin reviewing the safety and health effects of e-cigarettes immediately. (VOA)

Next Story

Nicotine Present in E-cigarette Increases Risk of Chronic Bronchitis, Says Study

The researchers concluded that nicotine produced these negative effects by stimulating the ion channel transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1)

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E-cigarettes
E-cigarettes is considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay

E-cigarette vaping with nicotine not only hampers mucus clearance from the airways, but also increases the risk of chronic bronchitis, warn researchers.

A single session of vaping can deliver more nicotine in the airways than smoking one cigarette, warned researchers in a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

“The question was whether vape containing nicotine had negative effects on the ability to clear secretions from the airways similar to tobacco smoke,” said Matthias Salathe, senior author of the study and Professor at the University of Kansas.

The study’s findings showed that vaping with nicotine impaired ciliary beat frequency, dehydrates airway fluid and made mucus more viscous or sticky.

These changes make it more difficult for the bronchi, the main passageways to the lung, to defend themselves from infection and injury.

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

“Vaping with nicotine is not harmless as commonly assumed by those who start vaping. At the very least, it increases the risk of chronic bronchitis,” Salathe said.

The researchers observed that exposing human airway cells to e-cigarette vapour containing nicotine resulted in a decreased ability to move mucus or phlegm across the surface. This phenomenon is called “mucociliary dysfunction.”

Mucociliary dysfunction is a feature of many lung diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis.

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For the study, the researchers tested the effects of nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapours on airway mucociliary function in differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) and sheep, whose airways mimic those of humans when exposed to e-cigarette vapour.

The researchers concluded that nicotine produced these negative effects by stimulating the ion channel transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Blocking TRPA1 reduced the effects of nicotine on clearance in both human cells in culture and in the sheep. (IANS)