The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced that it is calling for a total ban on all e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The AMA cited a massive surge in teen vaping, the recent outbreak of lung illnesses which has been linked to vaping, and the general lack of information about the long-term health consequences of vaping as reasons for its stance.
Previously, the AMA’s stance on vaping was that it advocated for banning flavored e-cigarettes and advertisements. According to the president of the AMA, Patrice Harris, the recent outbreak of lung illnesses prompted the organization to take a critical look at the practice. The outbreak 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,” she said.
The outbreak of lung disease related to vaping continues to spread across the United States. Just this week, the state of Louisiana saw the first vaping-related illness death, bringing the total deaths to over 40 nationwide. The root cause of the illness has yet to be determined, but investigations have found potential links to certain THC vaping products. Vitamin E acetate is being viewed as a “very strong suspect” in causing vaping illnesses. The CDC last week reported that the additive was present in all of the 29 fluid samples collected from the lungs of patients in 10 states.
The announcement has already seen opposition. The president of the American Vaping Association calls the AMA’s announcement inconsistent with CDC findings regarding the vaping-related illness and a link to black-market THC vaping products. A tobacco addiction specialist at Penn State University told the associated press that he did not support the stance due to the fact that “…nicotine electronic cigarettes are competing with and replacing the most harmful legal product in this country.”
The announcement from the AMA is the second major blow to the vaping industry this week. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit against e-cigarette company Juul, alleging that the company misled consumers about the risks of vaping through deceptive advertising. According to the lawsuit, Juul’s marketing downplayed the risks of vaping (including the nicotine content), while using imagery specifically designed to target teenagers.
This is one of many lawsuits the popular e-cigarette company is facing. Earlier this year, North Carolina’s Attorney General also sued Juul over its advertising strategy, and the state of California has announced a similar lawsuit this month. The Federal Trade Commission is also investigating the company’s marketing practices. The company is facing heightened scrutiny in part due to the dramatic rise in teen vaping. According to the Journal of American Medicine, nearly one-third (28%) of American high school students report vaping nicotine, while 11% of middle school students report such use.