KHI News Service
TOPEKA — In possible setbacks for the e-cigarette industry, a study published in a leading medical journal found the nicotine devices did little or nothing to help people quit smoking regular cigarettes and six U.S. senators today called for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate them.
E-cigarettes, which deliver their nicotine kick to users in a vapor, have been gaining in popularity and have been widely promoted as tools to help people stop smoking tobacco, a practice which has long been proven to be harmful to health.
But the article published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported the e-cigarettes were no help to quitting for the people in the study group.
Pamela Ling, a tobacco researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and fellow researchers followed the smoking habits of 949 people using an online survey. They found that after a year those who used e-cigarettes were no more likely to have quit or reduced smoking.
“We found that there was no difference in the rate of quitting between smokers who used an e-cigarette and those who did not”, Ling told Nature, a Scientific American publication that interviewed her about the study.
Also Tuesday, six U.S. senators issued a joint statement calling on the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating e-cigarettes, which use a coil to heat concentrations of liquid nicotine.
The senators’ letter to the FDA followed a report earlier this week in the New York Times about the increase in accidental nicotine poisoning. The story cited data from the National Poison Data Systems, which recorded 1,351 accidental nicotine poisoning in 2013, a 300 percent increase over 2012.
The six senators are all Democrats and included U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Boxer of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticutt, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
“it’s time for the FDA to stop the sale of these candy-flavored poisons to our children,” the senators wrote.