In this photo illustration a woman smokes an electronic cigarette. Credit: Getty Images
Citing ingredients that contain carcinogens and use by minors, a group of thousands of Bay State doctors made formal its opposition to young people using e-cigarettes.
The Massachusetts Medical Society voted at its interim meeting on Saturday to oppose the marketing, sales and use of e-cigarettes among youth, the organization said. The MMS is made up of more than 24,000 physicians and student members and publishes the New England Journal of Medicine.
"The MMS opposes the marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery products among youth, particularly for persons under the age of 18," the organization said. It also added that it will work with state lawmakers on strategies to combat the marketing, sale and use of the products to minors.
Electronic cigaretts are becoming increasing popular and so is the fight over whether or not they should be regulated.
The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimated that more than 3.5 million Americans use e-cigarettes and that total sales are expected to hit $1.7 billion by the end of the year.
In its 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that e-cigarette use "increased significantly" among middle school and high school students between 2011 (2.1 percent) and 2012 (3.9 percent).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working on a proposal to regulate the battery-operated cigarettes that produce a vapor from liquid nicotine. The proposal is under review by a White House department.
At the State House, a bill that would "modernize" tobacco control and regulate the sale of products to anyone under 18, has been working its way through committees, but has yet to be voted on by the state Senate or House of Representatives.
The MMS offered testimony during one of the hearings earlier this year on the proposed bill.
"The Massachusetts Medical Society is among those that see [e-cigarettes] as a gateway product to tobacco abuse and nicotine addiction and support restricting the sale of such products, similar to the sale of cigarettes," the organization said in its testimony.