Smoking Kills, and So Might E-Cigarette Regulations

December 5, 2013

E-cigarettes are safe, yet public health agencies are pushing to regulate them to the detriment of American smokers, says Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical and executive director of the American Council on Science and Health.

  • Most U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatments intended to aid smokers in ceasing to smoke have low success rates.
  • But e-cigarettes ("electronic nicotine delivery systems") have provided a "ray of hope" for smokers.
  • The battery-powered device vaporizes water and nicotine, allowing the user to "smoke" without the harmful effects of smoke and tobacco.

But for "modified risk tobacco products" to receive approval from the FDA, they have to go through a complicated and expensive process, as mandated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. But in this case, the Tobacco Control Act could become a detriment to public health. If the FDA requires the lengthy testing of e-cigarettes, they will be taken off the market, leaving smokers to revert back to traditional cigarette smoking. 

  • Instead of classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products, the government could allow them to continue to be sold.
  • Rather than regulating under the Tobacco Control Act, the federal government could allow states to oversee the sale of e-cigarettes and establish age limits and other reasonable forms of oversight (such as warning labels, ingredient listing and manufacturing standards).
  • Such rules could keep the product safe while saving Americans from cigarette-related disease and death.

Last month, the European Union ignored those campaigning against e-cigarettes and allowed Europeans to continue using the product. The FDA should do the same with e-cigarettes here in the United States.

Source: Gilbert Ross, "Smoking Kills, and So Might E-Cigarette Regulations," The American, November 20, 2013.

 

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