FDA Changes Its Mind on E-Cigarettes

FDA Changes Its Mind on E-Cigarettes

FDA Changes Its Mind on E-Cigarettes

Statistics show that the vast majority of smokers – 90 percent, in fact – have tried their first cigarette before they are 18 years old and that 2,500 young people smoke their first cigarette every day in the United States. In a statement issued on July 28, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that both addiction and nicotine are key focuses of upcoming regulation efforts, to be carried out over a number of years. To reduce the likelihood of future addiction, the agency announced that it will be reducing the levels of nicotine present in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels and that it will be encouraging the development of safer alternative nicotine delivery methods such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

A “key piece of the FDA’s approach is demonstrating a greater awareness that nicotine – while highly addictive – is delivered through products that represent a continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes.” It is refreshing to see the agency finally acknowledging that ENDS such as electronic cigarettes can help ex-smokers transition from traditional cigarettes to an alternative that is less harmful to their health. Unlike combustible cigarettes that burn tobacco to release smoke containing nicotine and thousands of toxins, e-cigarettes heat a nicotine-laced solution known as e-liquid or e-juice to generate vapor, a process which, according to the Royal College of Physicians, is 95 percent less deleterious.

The FDA also recognized that a reduction in nicotine levels could help wean smokers off combustible cigarettes since e-cigarettes, in addition to being safer, also provide ex-smokers with the added benefit of being able to adjust their nicotine levels when vaping.

Also, the FDA announced that it will be seeking public input on the effects of nicotine and flavors when it comes to tobacco products by issuing Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). On the one hand, flavors such as menthol in traditional cigarettes can tempt young smokers to start smoking, while, on the other hand, the abundance of e-cigarette flavors such as dessert e-liquids and fruit e-juices actually play an important role in moving cigarette smokers to less harmful nicotine delivery options such as e-cigs and vaporizers.

The deadlines for the review of tobacco-related products which have been on the market since August 8, 2016 has been extended. In the case of combustible cigarettes, applications must be submitted by August 8, 2021. For e-cigarette products, reviews must be submitted by August 8, 2022.

What do you think of the FDA’s recent announcement? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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