Saturday, October 26, 2013
Medscape: There is a growing health concern about the electronic cigarette and how it is being marketed to consumers. We have made so much progress in recent years fighting the tobacco problem in this country, and now we are faced with a new product that may be just as concerning. What is the CDC doing to address this concern?
Dr. Frieden: What we are doing first is tracking, and we are seeing some very concerning trends. Use of e-cigarettes in youth doubled just in the past year, and many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes. Nicotine can be a very addictive drug, so we want to make sure that e-cigarettes don't lead to another generation of kids becoming addicted. In addition, if smokers want to quit, we know that there are FDA-approved medications that can double or triple their likelihood of succeeding. Every adult nonpregnant smoker who tries to quit should be offered medication. Also, we need to make sure that people who have quit smoking don't get hooked back on nicotine by starting up with e-cigarettes and then go on to smoking conventional cigarettes. Finally, to the extent that e-cigarettes reglamorize the act of smoking, they could be very dangerous, but we don't know what that will bring in the long term. It may be that if they are carefully regulated, for some people they may do good. But right now we have got those 4 areas I have mentioned that we are very concerned about./.../