AMA ramps up pressure to limit sale of e-cigarettes

The American Medical Association sent a letter to the CEOs of five of the largest commerce companies in the U.S. urging them to take action against the sale of illicit e-cigarette products on their platforms.

AMA’s letter, penned by the association’s CEO and Executive Vice President James Madara, MD, was sent to the heads of Amazon, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram­­. These companies own platforms where street sales of e-cigarette and vaping products occurs, as well as the sale of items used to create counterfeit vaping products. The AMA has long been involved in the fight against tobacco and cigarettes.

The letter comes at a time when an epidemic of lung injuries attributed to e-cigarette use has cropped up across the U.S. According to the CDC, the number of injuries topped 1,000 last week, while 18 deaths have been reported in 15 states. The CDC is investigating the cause of the lung injuries alongside several states. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal found many illicit vaping products have found a home online where sales can take place.

However, the agency has yet to discover any specific products across all the patients, and the exact cause for the lung disease has yet to be determined. Some patients with confirmed cases of lung injuries linked to vaping admitted to using products with THC and others may have used products purchased off the street.

“The rapid growth of vaping-related lung illness is frightening in scope and unexplained in nature,” Madara wrote in the letter.

The AMA asked the five company leaders to step up to ensure vaping products are not being sold across their platforms as the number of lung injury cases continues to rise.

“We urge you, as leaders of large technology platforms, to ensure that existing policies that ban the sale or transfer of illicit items (such as vaping products that contain THC) are enforced,” the letter concluded. … “It is time for e-commerce companies to take action to ban the sale of materials fueling the counterfeit vaping crisis.”