By Timothy Hyland
Vaping is a national healthcare crisis, and the dental community has now joined the conversation.
Just days after the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance about the recently discovered condition of E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury—or EVALI, for short—and recommended that the public stop using THC-containing vaping products, the American Dental Association followed suit.
In a statement outlining its interim position on vaping products, the ADA called for a “total ban on vaping products that aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for tobacco cessation purposes.” The ADA further said it was “urgently” advocating for regulatory or legislative action to ban all vaping products except those that are FDA-approved and are made available by prescription only, and called for further research into the potential dangers of vaping products.
The organization noted its policy closely mirrors that of the American Medical Association (AMA), and that it considered its new policy “a call to action to ensure the health and safety of consumers.”
“While the long-term oral health effects of vaping are under scientific review, as health professionals we must be prudent in protecting consumers from potentially harmful products,” ADA President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S. said in a statement. “We will continue to advocate for additional research, but we must protect the health of our patients first and foremost. A ban such as this would ensure patient safety while allowing us to explore the impact of vaping products on oral health.”
The vaping crisis has emerged as a significant—and in a growing number of cases, fatal—health issue in recent months, as the medical community began reporting a mysterious rise in lung-related illnesses that were ultimately linked to the use of vaping or e-cigarette products.
The CDC reports that as of December 10th, there had been a total of 2,409 confirmed cases of EVALI in the United States, with 52 deaths. And though the CDC said trends suggest that the condition may be declining as public awareness grows about the potential threat posed by vaping products, it also noted that new cases continue to be reported weekly.
Based on early research, federal authorities say that most cases of EVALI have been linked to the use of e-cigarettes containing THC. It also appears that products containing vitamin E acetate are particularly problematic, though the CDC also warns that there are “many different substances and product sources that are being investigated, and there may be more than one cause.”
The ADA’s new policy comes about a month after the AMA, spurred on by the sudden spike in EVALI cases, as well as a surge in the use of vaping products by young people, issued its own statement calling for a ban on vaping products. At the time, the organization said the outbreak had made it clear that the medical community and policymakers simply didn’t have enough information to make informed decisions about the use of vaping products, so they should be banned until further research is completed.
AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., said in her statement: “It’s simple: we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people, and that’s why we are calling for an immediate ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products from the market. With the number of young people using e-cigarettes spiking, it is not only critical that there is research into nicotine addiction treatments for this population, but it is imperative that we continue efforts to prevent youth from ever using nicotine.”
Author: Contributing writer Timothy Hyland has more than 20 years' experience as a writer, reporter, and editor. His work has also appeared in Fast Company, Roll Call, Philadelphia Business Journal, and The Washington Times.
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