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St. Louis Post-Dispatch publishes Practicum Student’s Letter to the Editor

Ryan Bell, a Practicum Student on the Center’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) evaluation, recently submitted a letter to the editor to the Post-Dispatch on the topic of electronic cigarettes. Bell’s letter, originally submitted with the title: ‘Tis the season for smoke-free shopping was published on December 4, 2012 with a very different title: Ban e-cigarettes in indoor public places. Read the LTE and comments here.

While proponents of e-cigarettes see them as a less dangerous alternative to combustible tobacco products, many in the public health community view e-cigarettes as gateway products to tobacco use and nicotine addiction and support their restriction or even removal from the market. Those in favor of regulation point out that e-cigarette cartridges are sold in a variety of flavors and can be purchased in places where young people often gather, like at shopping malls. Furthermore, safety of these products has not been fully studied and they have not been approved by the FDA.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website:
“As the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, consumers of e-cigarette products currently have no way of knowing:
  • whether e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use,
  • how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or
  • if there are any benefits associated with using these products.
    Additionally, it is not known if e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.”

For more information on e-cigarettes, see the following publications:
Policy Guidance Document Regarding E-Cigarettes from the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium
Regulating E-Cigarettes from the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium

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