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AMA: Electronic Cigarettes Are Drug Delivery Devices and Should Be Subject to FDA Regulations

For immediate release:
June 14, 2010

CHICAGO –  New policy adopted today by the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) be classified as drug delivery devices, subject to the same FDA regulations as all other drug delivery devices. Additional policy adopted supports prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes that are not FDA approved.

“Very little data exists on the safety of e-cigarettes, and the FDA has warned that they are potentially addicting and contain harmful toxins,” said AMA Board Member Edward L. Langston, M.D. “Our new policies can help ensure that e-cigarettes are properly classified and regulated.”

E-cigarettes are smokeless devices that deliver nicotine to the user. They consist of three integrated parts: the nicotine cartridge, the vaporizer and a lithium ion battery. The battery powers the cartridge and releases the nicotine by heating, rather than burning like a conventional cigarettes. They are available in fruit and candy flavors. Little independent research has been conducted into their ingredients and health impacts, but they are commercially promoted by vendors as a safe alternative to cigarettes.

“Because e-cigarettes have not been thoroughly tested, one cannot conclude that they are less harmful or less dangerous than conventional cigarettes,” said Dr. Langston. “The fact that they come in fruit and candy flavors gives them the potential to entice new nicotine users, especially teens.”

The AMA’s new policy is a result of a report looking at the current regulations and potential health impacts of e-cigarettes discussed this week at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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Media contact:

Lisa Lecas
American Medical Association
AMA Pressroom: (312) 239-4819
Office: 312-464-5980