The FDA’s Challenge on E-Cigs
Electronic cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but they aren’t safe. There’s evidence they can damage the lungs, and they’re also a path to nicotine addiction. Last year the percentage of teenagers using nicotine grew at the fastest rate ever recorded for an addictive substance, according to a survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The same organization also published a survey that found that children who use e-cigs are more likely to become long-term smokers of regular cigarettes than children who never use them.
Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration have a tough job. How can they preserve e-cigarettes as a tool to help adult smokers while snuffing out the teen smoking epidemic? The answer depends on recognizing the differences between types of e-cigs.
E-cigs are regulated by the FDA under the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The FDA has a legal obligation to reduce death and disease from tobacco and to assess youth initiation as a key factor in determining the “net public health benefit” of a new tobacco product like e-cigs.