Given the lack of evidence to support the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation product, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association of Cancer Research are urging oncologists not to recommend e-cigarettes to cancer patients.

“Given the overall lack of evidence supporting the use of ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) as a proven cessation aid for smokers in general, and the absence of any data on the potential adverse effects of inhaling ENDS aerosol by cancer patients undergoing treatment, oncologists would be wise to refrain from recommending ENDS as a first-line therapy for smoking cessation,” the two organizations said in a joint policy statement published Jan. 8 in the Clinical Cancer Research (Clin. Canc. Res. 2015 Jan. 8 [doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2544]).

To that end, ASCO and AACR laid out a number of research priorities to help better understand the role ENDS play in smoking cessation as well as to understand the overall health impact they have and to inform health policy. The organizations are looking for information that examines key design features of ENDS; product testing standards; the effects of acute and chronic ENDS product use, including second- and third-hand exposure; health benefits of transitioning from traditional tobacco products to ENDS; abuse potential; and research on understanding how products are used in general and their potential to be a smoking cessation product.

The policy statement also reiterated recommendations previously made to the Food and Drug Administration on how to regulate ENDS.

“Rapid elimination of combustible tobacco products would dramatically reduce the burden of tobacco-related death and disease,” Thomas Brandon , Ph. D., Moffitt Cancer Center of Tampa, and his colleagues write. “The AACR and ASCO support every effort to reduce the use of combustible tobacco, and we support careful consideration of ENDS as potentially harmful, and potentially beneficial, products in this regard.”