LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2016) — Tobacco-free advocate and researcher Ellen Hahn, a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and College of Public Health, can explain the implications of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) deeming rule for electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), cigars, hookah and other tobacco products, which went into effect on Aug. 8.

Until earlier this year, cigars, hookah tobacco and e-cigs remained unregulated by the federal government. The deeming rule establishes jurisdiction over these products and makes it illegal to sell to people under the age of 18 in the U.S. The rule bans the sale or free distribution of cigars, hookah tobacco and e-cigs to people under the age of 18. The rule also gives the FDA the authority to review promotions of products to ensure consumers are informed of the risks of emerging tobacco products. E-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah are now subject to FDA action for false or misleading information, and claims of modified risk.

According to Hahn, the deeming rule marks a crucial step forward in regulating e-cigs, but more protections against the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing ploys will be necessary to protect people trying to quit tobacco and vulnerable youth. E-cigs contain chemical compounds that pose distinctive health threats and are shown to exacerbate, rather than stymie, nicotine addiction. The tobacco industry has maintained a foothold in the youth marketplace by delivering tobacco in novel forms and enticing flavors. E-cigs continue to rise in popularity with youth, with the rate of e-cig use in high school students climbing from 1.5 percent to 16 percent from 2011 to 2015.

In addition to her academic appointments, Hahn is director of the BREATHE initiative, which includes the Tobacco Policy Research Program, the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy (KCSP) and the Radon Policy Research Program. She holds the Marcia A. Dake Endowed Professorship in the College of Nursing. Hahn is associate director for the Center for Health Services Research, a faculty associate at UK’s NCI-designated Markey Cancer Center and a facilitator for the Lung Cancer Translational Research Group. Hahn received her undergraduate degree in nursing from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University. She earned a Master of Arts in Health Education from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science in community health nursing from Indiana University. In 1992, she completed a doctorate in health policy/health of the community with a minor in substance abuse and the family at Indiana University School of Nursing.

Through KCSP, Hahn and her colleagues have assisted many of Kentucky’s 43 communities to go smoke-free. Thirteen of these communities currently restrict use of e-cigarettes in public places and/or workplaces. See the smoke-free communities map and listings: http://www.uky.edu/breathe/tobacco-policy/smoke-free-communities/ordinance-database. Hahn and colleagues have published multiple smoke-free workplace policy outcome studies showing positive health effects and no harm to business.

To request an interview with Ellen Hahn, contact [email protected].


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