FDA authorizes an e-cigarette for first time, saying benefit for smokers outweighs risk to youths

Bryan Pietsch

This article by Bryan Pietsch appeared in The Washington Post on October 13.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized a set of e-cigarette products for sale in the United States for the first time on Tuesday after it concluded that the benefit to adult cigarette smokers outweighed the risk posed to young people.

The authorization of an e-cigarette device and two accompanying nicotine cartridge products, which are sold under the brand name Vuse by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, is a shift in the ongoing debate over e-cigarettes, fueled by criticism that tobacco companies are addicting another generation to nicotine under the guise of helping adult smokers quit.

The FDA authorized only tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges and denied requests from R.J. Reynolds for 10 flavored products, saying that young people typically start e-cigarette use, often called vaping, not with tobacco but with flavors such as fruit, candy or mint.

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