DiFranza calls on FDA to ‘act with uncharacteristic speed’ to regulate e-cigarettes

Youth nicotine addiction expert reacts to CDC report that youth ‘vaping’ tripled

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

April 17, 2015
  Joseph DiFranza, MD
  Youth nicotine addiction expert Joseph DiFranza, MD

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Youth Tobacco Survey that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014 is setting off alarm bells among smoking cessation advocates. E-cigarettes are as yet unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

“In a setting of a complete lack of federal regulation of these products, manufacturers have enjoyed a free rein to market these addictive products to children,” said UMass Medical School youth nicotine addiction expert Joseph DiFranza, MD, in response to the data published by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products in the April 16 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“In just three years, the use of e-cigarettes among youth has surpassed that of tobacco cigarettes,” said Dr. DiFranza, professor of family medicine & community health.

Two decades ago, DiFranza conducted the groundbreaking research that found children get addicted to nicotine sooner and more easily than previously believed, which led directly to the demise of the Joe Camel brand icon. DiFranza recently gave a presentation on electronic cigarettes and adolescents at an FDA symposium on e-cigarettes.

“Through using celebrity endorsements, video advertising, youthful marketing and candy flavors, unscrupulous companies are hooking a new generation of youth on nicotine,” he said. “The Food and Drug Administration must act with uncharacteristic speed to regulate these products.”

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