Far too often, health officials make snap judgments about electronic cigarettes. Thankfully, the new US Surgeon General is being a little more cautious before he takes an official stance on vaping. Dr. Vivek Murthy believes our nation is “in desperate need of clarity” about the real impact of ecigs and he wants to take a “wait and see” approach before he makes any advisements about vapor products.
Murthy spoke out this week, pointing out the potential benefits of e-cigs. “There’ve been theories and ideas around the fact that e-cigarettes may be helpful from a harm reduction perspective in helping people who are already on cigarettes (that) have had trouble quitting actually get off cigarettes,” Dr. Murthy said. “If the data indeed bears that out, then I think we should absolutely embrace that and use e-cigarettes in targeted ways.”
Still, the surgeon general isn’t giving the green light to vapers quite yet. He said we first need to see the long term impact of vaping on health and he is especially interested in how the ecig industry will interact with American youth. “I’m concerned about e-cigarettes, and I think this is an area where we are in desperate need of clarity,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to understand the impact, particularly on youth, before we allow the full-fledged spread of e-cigarettes and then later have problems that we have to deal with.”
Murthy isn’t the only one that is still unsure about ecigs. The FDA is still dragging their feet on regulations despite releasing an initial regulatory proposal almost a year ago. Perhaps the FDA will hold off until our new Surgeon General takes an official stance on the ecig movement. Historically, the nation’s approach to tobacco control was largely dictated by the leading of the surgeon general.
Do you agree with Dr. Murthy’s stance on vaping? Is it still too early to make any officials decisions on regulating ecigs or do we have enough information to safely endorse their use for smoking cessation?