In a statement released earlier this month, the AMA urged all levels of government to ban the sale and distribution of all vaping products and e-cigarettes, and only allow sales by prescription. “The recent lung illness outbreak has alarmed physicians and the broader public health community and shined a light on the fact that we have very little evidence about the short- and long-term consequences of e-cigarettes and vaping products,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris. “It’s simple — we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people and that’s why we are calling for an immediate ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products from the market.”

The AMA statement also called for studies into the effectiveness of the products on smoking cessation, and on treatment strategies for minors who are already addicted to nicotine. It also urges lawmakers to set in place policies against the sales of the devices in pharmacies and in favour of adopting diagnostic codes for e-cigarette and vaping associated illnesses.

EVALI caused by unregulated products

“At this point, it is time for state policy makers and politicians to immediately discontinue their conflation of this outbreak with the problem of youth e-cigarette use.” Siegel

Meanwhile, only a week earlier the CDC had announced a “Major Breakthrough”, one that several anti-smoking experts had been insisting on for the last few months: the infamous outbreak of EVALI, is almost certainly not linked with vaping legal nicotine products.

Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Michael Siegel, voiced his frustration, “CDC Announces ‘Major Breakthrough’ that I Recognized and Reported Two Months Ago”.

Siegel shared that in line with previous research, the evidence is pointing to the consumption of vitamin E acetate oil. “They tested lung tissue samples from 29 case patients and all 29 (100%) were found to contain vitamin E acetate oil. This finding does represent a major breakthrough for four reasons:

  1. The vitamin E acetate oil was detected in the actual lung tissue of the case patients.
  2. The vitamin E acetate oil was detected in every single one of the lung tissue samples from these 29 case patients.
  3. The samples came from 10 different states, confirming that the outbreak seems to have a common cause, rather than geographic variation.
  4. Three of the patients whose lung samples revealed vitamin E acetate had reported using only nicotine-containing products, thus confirming that there is significant under-reporting which may explain why about 11% of the patients do not report vaping THC.”

When policy is based on misinformation

Yet, the AMA is busy asking for a legislation that ignores the above, while Siegel is pointing out why it is imperative that policy makers now take the initiative to undo all the damage that has been done by linking the lung disease to vaping. “At this point, it is time for state policy makers and politicians to immediately discontinue their conflation of this outbreak with the problem of youth e-cigarette use. It is time for all policy makers, health agencies, and health professionals to immediately stop stating or implying that legal, nicotine-containing e-liquids have anything to do with the outbreak.”

Read Further: UPI

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