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Pharma-linked Doctors Urge Regulation

Spokespersons for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), are urging the FDA to implement regulation of ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). Their comments were published in Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


Admitting the possibility that electronic cigarettes may be “potentially beneficial products”, the physicians' report emphasized “potentially harmful” aspects. “The benefits and harms must be evaluated with respect to the population as a whole, taking into account the effect on youth, adults, nonsmokers, and smokers," stated the report, as it lamented the “delayed time course” in evaluating long-term effects of vaping nicotine.


“Relevant relationships” with pharmaceutical companies were disclosed by three of the twelve spokespersons. These companies included Biothera, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, DiaTech Oncology, Eli Lilly, Genentech/Roche, Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, Merck, N-of-Ones, NovaRX, Pfizer, and Voxviva.


Most of the recommendations relate to the prohibition of marketing to youth, including a ban on “youth-oriented flavors” and age-check requirements. The doctors call for registration of all ENDS products, including ingredient lists and concentration levels, and they do not seem concerned about the burdensome costs this will impose on non-cigarette makers, and the consequent boon to Big Tobacco firms.


Like all responsible voices in the vaping industry, they call for a long-overdue requirement of child-proof caps on all e-liquid containers.


They agree with vaping advocates on the need for ENDS-related research, and suggest the funding of such studies with tax money from the sale of actual tobacco products, and also with potential taxes on ENDS products.


The physicians state that they "recognize the potential ENDS have to alter patterns of tobacco use and affect the public's health; however, definitive data are lacking." The report does accept the possibility that there are some benefits to ENDS use, but this possibility is always mentioned after mentioning potential harms. Still, the statement represents a move away from the outright opposition that has been typical of such statements in the past.