AAFP: FDA E-Cigarette Rule Great Step Forward for Public Health

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Statement attributable to:
Wanda Filer, MD, MBA
President, American Academy of Family Physicians

“Family physicians across the country applaud the FDA’s final regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe and hookah tobacco and other related products. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and illness in the US, and by including e-cigarettes and other nicotine-delivery devices not previously under the FDA’s authority, the agency asserts its commitment to protecting public health.

“The AAFP has strongly advocated for the regulation of nicotine delivery products, including e-cigarettes, and we are pleased that the FDA has implemented many of our recommendations. Family physicians continue to be the front line of defense in smoking cessation. And we welcome continued oversight and regulation of harmful tobacco products.

“This rule gives the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act the full authority it’s lacked since becoming law. Now, those products that have been in the marketplace since 2007 will be regulated. By retroactively regulating these products, the FDA prevented a very dangerous and concerning precedent, which would have allowed these harmful products to go unchecked and continue to be sold.

“We’ve seen first-hand, the devastating effects of tobacco use in our patients every day. More than 480,000 people die each year from tobacco-attributed diseases. Teen e-cigarette use tripled to 13.4 percent between 2013 and 2014 – and the CDC estimates there were 2.4 million youth e-cigarette users that year. With these statistics, America cannot ignore this urgent public health threat. E-cigarettes come in more than 7,000 flavors. We are pleased that the ruling today will allow the FDA to assess whether the flavors used in these products contribute to youth e-cigarette use or present other health concerns.

The FDA asserted its commitment to keeping tobacco out of the hands of minors by setting the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes to 18 and requiring picture identification. Moreover, eliminating free samples and restricting the sale of tobacco products to only adult-accessible vending machines, will help keep tobacco products out of the hands of children.”

To learn more, watch this video interview with AAFP President Wanda Filer, MD, MBA.

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Filer, contact Stephanie A. Wilken, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5221, or swilken@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).