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Regulate e-cigarettes to protect the public

A recent CDC report indicates e-cigarette use has more than doubled among U.S. students. This is troubling because teens who begin smoking e-cigarettes may graduate to traditional cigarettes. The currently unregulated nicotine delivery device is offered in candy flavors that are attractive to young people.

While e-cigarette use is on the rise, cigarette smoking remains the cause for the most premature death and disease in this country. Never starting tobacco is the healthiest option and quitting tobacco as soon as possible is the next best option.

There are reasons to believe e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, but also reasons to be concerned about their impact on public health. A generation ago, the scientific community thought that “light” cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes and many even encouraged smokers to switch to lights to reduce their risk, but the scientific community was wrong and public health suffered.

The Food and Drug Administration needs to act to exert its authority to regulate e-cigarettes and to use the best available science to guide its actions to maximize public health.

Andrew Hyland, Ph.D.

Chairman, Department of Health

Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer

Institute, Buffalo