American Lung Association Joins Public Health Advocates to Urge FDA to Pull E-cigarettes from Marketplace

Statement of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

(March 24, 2009)

Washington, D.C. (March 24, 2009) – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applaud Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey’s call for the Food and Drug Administration to exert its authority and immediately remove e-cigarettes from the market. 

FDA officials have been quoted numerous times in many publications during the past few weeks saying that e-cigarettes are “new drugs,” which require prior approval from the FDA before they are allowed to be sold. Without this approval, e-cigarettes are illegal to market or sell. Despite these statements, no action has been taken to remove e-cigarettes from the market.

Currently, e-cigarettes are being sold in 62 kiosks at malls across the United States, with plans to expand to another 55. E-cigarettes are also being marketed towards young people, who can purchase them in fruit flavors and online, without having to verify their ages. 

Makers and retailers of these products have been making unproven health claims about their products, claiming that they are safer than normal cigarettes and asserting that they can help people to quit smoking. Absent scientific evidence, these claims are in blatant violation of FDA rules.

In fact, no studies have been done on e-cigarettes to date regarding their health effects or their effectiveness as cessation aids. Like the “light” and “low tar” cigarettes that tobacco companies claimed were healthier for consumers, there is no evidence to back up the claims made by e-cigarette makers. In September of 2008, the World Health Organization stated that they have “no evidence to confirm the product’s safety or efficacy.” 

Our organizations thank Senator Lautenberg for his leadership in urging the FDA to remove these products from the market and echo his call that the FDA move quickly to remove these products from the marketplace. 

While the FDA currently does not have jurisdiction over tobacco products, it does have jurisdiction over other products that contain nicotine including e-cigarettes, which have been marketed as delivering nicotine without tobacco.