Barbara L. McAneny
Delegates at the recently completed AMA annual meeting took steps to curb the use of electronic cigarettes and occurrence of suicide.
Strengthening e-cigarette policy
According to AMA, 2017 was the fourth year in a row that e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle school and high school students and that 17% of youths who use e-cigarettes said they did so because they thought the devices were “less harmful than other forms of tobacco such as cigarettes.”
Thus, the new AMA policy demands the federal government ensure consumers know the ingredients and nicotine content in e-cigarettes, e-liquid refills and e-cigarette cartridges, according to a press release.
“Given that e-cigarette cartridge manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients contained in their products, we are concerned that consumers have an inaccurate reflection of the amount of nicotine and type of substances they’re inhaling when using e-cigarettes,” Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the AMA, said in a press release.
The AMA cited CDC data that suggest suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and 60% of all firearm deaths in the U.S. each year are suicide.
Thus, delegates adopted a policy that would step up awareness about the risks for suicide in the population at large, provide training for physicians to assist them in determining a patient’s risk for suicide, ensure physicians know of the role of firearms in suicides and know how to determine whether a person at risk for suicide has access to a firearm.
“With an increasing number of people committing suicide in the U.S., we must do everything we can to help increase awareness about the risk factors for suicide,” McAneny said in a separate press release.
“While the need for firearm injury prevention among high-risk individuals is widely accepted as an effective clinical intervention, too few physicians are actually conducting screening and counseling to increase safety, especially when it comes to suicide. We need more physicians to counsel their patients who are at high risk for violence and suicide, and work with their families, to learn as much as possible about their access to firearms and other lethal means — doing so may help prevent suicides and help keep families from enduring the tragic loss of a loved one,” she said. - by Janel Miller
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