WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Assoc. joined in support of “E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General,” and have made the following joint statement:
“As leading medical organizations representing, collectively, 630,000 physicians across the country, we join together today to applaud Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, for issuing the first comprehensive federal-government review of the public-health impact of e-cigarettes on youth and young adults in the United States.
“While adolescent use of tobacco has declined since the 1970s,” they went on, “tobacco use continues to be a major health threat to young people and adults, and e-cigarettes are threatening to addict a new generation to nicotine. The developing brains of children and teens are particularly vulnerable to nicotine, which is why the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among adolescents is so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health. Further, the effects of nicotine are dangerous to pregnant women and their developing fetuses, whether from the mother being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy or fetal toxicity from maternal e-cigarette use.”
They agreed with the surgeon general’s report that a physician’s office is an ideal place to educate patients about the risks of use and exposure to e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. “We call on our physician members to counsel parents and caregivers who smoke about the risks of e-cigarette use and secondhand-smoke exposure, urge them not to use any tobacco products around children, and encourage them to quit. We also call on our physician members to provide advice to all children and adolescents on the dangers of tobacco use before they experiment with smoking, and to discuss the poisoning risks associated with the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes, which is highly potent, extremely toxic, and is marketed in appealing flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy.
“Nicotine exposure harms children from conception onward,” the groups concluded. “The surgeon general’s report on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults recognizes the growing threat e-cigarettes pose to health and development across the lifespan and offers pragmatic recommendations to address it. As leaders of organizations representing physicians in all fields of medicine, we are our patients’ strongest advocates and stand ready to help protect them from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.”