"It looks like a cigarette, and it's used like a cigarette," Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' tobacco consortium, said during the news conference. "It's marketed as a cigarette, and thus has the potential to normalize and cue smoking behavior."
Winickoff noted that cartridges for e-cigarettes are available in flavors, including chocolate, mint and bubblegum. "Past experience suggests that these products may be particularly appealing to young people," he said.
"E-cigarettes might encourage children, preteens and young adults to take their first step toward smoking cigarettes," he said.
Representatives of NJOY released a statement Wednesday night defending the company's product.
"NJOY's products have been on the market since at least April 2007 with no reports of adverse health consequences," company CEO Jack Leadbeater said in a statement. "We do not market our products to children, and indeed take affirmative steps to ensure that our products are not sold to minors by requiring retailers to agree to where the product is placed and request verification of appropriate age as it pertains to each state law."
"NJOY has been tested by an independent third-party laboratory. This testing, as well as our consultation with medical experts, gives us confidence that our products are appropriate alternatives for traditional cigarettes for the committed smoker," Leadbeater continued. "We are therefore surprised the FDA's testing has resulted in the agency suggesting that our products represent a health risk on par with conventional cigarettes. We will provide more information on NJOY's testing and the results in the very near future."
Smoking Everywhere did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on e-cigarettes.
SOURCES: July 22, 2009, teleconference with: Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., principal deputy commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Benjamin Westenberger, deputy director, division of pharmaceutical analysis, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA; Michael Levy, division director, Office of Compliance, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA; Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., chairman, tobacco consortium, American Academy of Pediatrics; July 22, 2009, statement, NJOY