The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which include e-cigarettes, is on the rise, but authorities in cancer research and tobacco policy are not ready to recommend them as a safe way to quit smoking. Twelve experts from cancer research institutions developed a national policy statement published January 8 in two prominent cancer journals, Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The authors, who include Graham W. Warren, M.D., PhD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina, caution that E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and may be harmful, particularly to youth. “E-cigarettes are a rapidly evolving product and we simply don't know if they help people quit smoking or if they increase the risk that people will start or continue smoking, such as when people start trying e-cigarettes in their youth,” says Dr. Warren.
The authors recommend further research on these devices, regulation of ENDS, requiring FDA oversight and warning labels on products and advertisements, prohibiting marketing to youth, and prohibiting ENDS use in places where cigarette smoking is prohibited.