The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been creating a series of new rules and regulations to take e-cigarettes under its authority. But are the new rules actually creating more dangers for smokers?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
Before we get into what the FDA is trying to to, it’s important to understand the difference between a regular cigarette and an e-cigarette. With a traditional cigarette, the user lights tobacco on fire and then inhales the smoke. It’s not just the tobacco that is harmful, but dozens of chemicals and tar which contain numerous carcinogens.
Compare that to e-cigarettes, which vaporize an “e-liquid” that contains nicotine and various additives such as flavors. E-cigarettes are still fairly new, only about a decade old, so it’s not known with exact certainty how dangerous they might be.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said, “The rule will also allow the FDA to evaluate the ingredients in these additional tobacco products, how the products are made and their potential impact on public health.”
But get this: UK’s Royal College of Physicians has stated that the risks of e-cigarettes are actually “unlikely to exceed 5%” of the risks of smoking. That’s 1/20th the danger.
With that information, you would think that the FDA would see e-cigarettes as a better alternative to traditional cigarettes, and yet the FDA has now finalized a plan to bring e-cigarettes under its authority.
The FDA has announced those changes include banning sales to minors. Nearly every e-cigarette product will need to go through FDA approval. That includes every individual device and every flavor will require a separate application.
That is incredibly expensive because each application will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, to complete. That means, for many of the nearly 200 or so companies that create e-cigarettes, they will not be able to innovate and many of them will go out of business.
What you need to know is that under these new rules, e-cigarettes will go through the law’s most rigorous and expensive approval process— under which companies must show the FDA, with extensive scientific evidence and sometimes including clinical research, that approving the product is “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
But when new research shows that fewer people are smoking traditional cigarettes— which we know causes cancer, which we know kills people— than they have in 20 years, and research also shows that a direct result of e-cigarettes as to why fewer and fewer people are smoking, how is that not proof enough of being positive for public health?
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about this on Twitter.