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WASHINGTON, D.C. — E-cigarette companies are speaking out following Thursday's release of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s report, E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults.
In a statement, Murthy acknowledged a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but said e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them, as CSNews Online previously reported.
"My concern is e-cigarettes have the potential to create a whole new generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine," Murthy told The Associated Press. "If that leads to the use of other tobacco-related products, then we are going to be moving backward instead of forward."
Federal figures show that last year, 16 percent of high school students reported at least some use of e-cigarettes — even some who say they've never smoked a conventional cigarette. While not all contain nicotine, Murthy's report says e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco-related product among youth, the news outlet reported.
The Food and Drug Administration deeming rule, which extended its regulatory authority to other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and cigars, prohibited the sale of the products to anyone under 18. Many e-cigarette manufacturers already had self-imposed ban to youth sales in place before the deeming rule when into effect on Aug. 8.
To read the surgeon general's full report, click here.
E-cig Companies React
Nicopure Labs LLC, a manufacturer of premium American-made e-liquids, said the Surgeon General's report fails to mention the potential tobacco harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes in adult smokers.
"Nicopure Labs appreciates the U.S. Surgeon General's focus on understanding the vaping industry and the tobacco harm reduction opportunities presented by vaping products," said Jeff Stamler, chief executive officer. "However, we have grave concerns about the report's failure to communicate the unmistakable contribution to increased smoking cessation and the comparative reduced harm presented by vaping products with respect to conventional cigarettes."
The executive continued to say that Nicopure Labs will continue to support "reasonable regulation" that reflects the potential harm reduction that vaping products offer to many adult smokers.
"The public would be better would be better served if U.S. government officials focused their energy and attention on irresponsible manufacturers, and eliminate those who use inappropriate flavor names and employ marketing strategies that appeal to the youth," continued Stamler. "The FDA deeming rule that went into effect on Aug. 8 to regulate vaping products does not address this issue, nor the good manufacturing practices and the safety of certain flavorings that most irresponsible manufacturers are using in their e-liquids."
V2, the largest independent e-cigarette and electronic vaporizer company, shares similar sentiments as Nicopure Labs. While the company said the e-vapor industry is committed to keeping vaporizers out of the hands of underage consumers, and these devices are not and have never been intended for anyone under the age of 18, it supports the ban on sales to underage users. It also "agrees with common sense decisions" to establish a minimum purchase age for these products.
"We also believe it is similarly important, however, to recognize the benefits of electronic vaporizers for adult smokers. Earlier this year, for example, the Royal College of Physicians found that replacing traditional cigarettes with vaporizers has the potential 'to prevent almost all harm' and would likely 'generate significant health gains,'"the V2 stated.
It continued to say that these benefits should not be excluded as part of the effort to prevent underage usage.
"It is our view that all policy should be representative of both sides — enabling the proactive promotion of vaporizers to adult smokers, while also addressing concerns about underage access," it said. "Instead, the proposals recommended go entirely too far, whether intentionally, or unintentionally, in putting a large class of adults who use vaporizers as an alternative to smoking at risk."