ASCO has submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) applauding its proposed rule to implement the use of new graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging and advertisements. The comments were sent through a letter from ASCO President Howard A. Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, to FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, on September 19.
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Roughly one in five young adults uses e-cigarettes daily or recreationally, and nearly one in four believes the products are harmless and not addictive, according to findings from ASCO’s third annual National Cancer Opinion Survey. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the results from its National Youth Tobacco Survey earlier this month, reporting that e-cigarette use among pre-teens and teens is on the rise. It is also despite warnings from the U.S. Surgeon General that e-cigarettes (also known as vapes) contain addictive and harmful or potentially harmful ingredients, including nicotine; lead and other heavy metals; and flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease. Amid public debate over banning flavored e-cigarettes, the ASCO survey also found that nearly three in 10 young adults think flavored e-cigarettes are less damaging to a person’s health than non-flavored ones. In addition, nearly seven in 10 Americans support raising the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes from 18 to 21.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the “Tobacco-Free Youth Act” which will work to protect youth from tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems by raising the national age of sale to from 18 to 21. ASCO endorsed the legislation in a letter from ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO.
Last month, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced companion bills (H.R. 2411/S. 1258) in the House and Senate to raise the legal age of purchasing tobacco to 21. ASCO has endorsed this legislation as a part of its ongoing commitment to policies that reduced the prevalence of tobacco use and occurrence of cancer and other smoking-caused diseases.
ASCO has endorsed the recently introduced Preventing Opportunities for Teen E-Cigarette and Tobacco Addiction (PROTECT) Act, which would authorize $100 million in funding each year for five years for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative to address the alarming rise in use of e-cigarettes by adolescents.
The Illinois state legislature has passed a bill raising the age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 years of age. ASCO and the Illinois Medical Oncology Society worked together to send letters of support to the House and Senate committees.
Approximately 5 million middle and high school students reported currently using a tobacco product, with over 3.6 million currently using e-cigarettes and about half (2.5 million) currently using a combustible tobacco product, according to the latest findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).