FDA’s Actions on Electronic Cigarettes Show Absurdity of Entire Tobacco Regulatory Scheme: Asking FDA to Regulate Cigarettes Was a Huge Mistake

The article which follows is one of the best written articles to date on the issue of Electronic Cigarettes. Michael Siegel in his blog writes eloquently regarding the FDA and its ability to regulate cigarettes.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Share yout thoughts!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used to be responsible for assuring that the food and drugs consumed by Americans are safe. Now, it is also responsible for approving the sale and marketing of products which kill more than 400,000 Americans each year. Although people are dying by the hundreds each day from tobacco products, the FDA has so far taken no action to make cigarettes safer, reduce the number of youths who start smoking, or reduce the number of adults who smoke. While the FDA has comprehensive authority over the production, marketing, and sale of cigarettes, it has taken no actions that have had any effect on improving the public’s health by decreasing tobacco-related morbidity or mortality.

In contrast, the FDA has taken significant efforts to remove electronic cigarettes – a much safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes – from the market. The Agency has seized various shipments of electronic cigarettes, threatened to remove electronic cigarettes from the market, warned consumers about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, scared the public into thinking that electronic cigarettes are loaded with carcinogens, convinced many people that all electronic cigarettes contain deadly anti-freeze, and taken other public efforts to highly discourage the use of these products by addicted smokers who would like to quit smoking but have been unsuccessful using other methods (including FDA-approved pharmacotherapy).

The net result is a complete inconsistency and absurdity in the FDA’s actions. On the one hand, the agency is approving the sale and marketing of a product that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and has taken no action to significantly reduce the number of cigarette smokers. On the other hand, the agency has threatened to ban a much safer alternative to cigarettes which many ex-smokers are finding useful to keep them off cigarettes and which have greatly improved their health. The agency has also taken efforts which have resulted in encouraging vapers to switch back to regular cigarettes by declaring that they should not use electronic cigarettes at this time.

There is no logical consistency or public health justification for the FDA’s actions. Moreover, the agency’s actions to date have produced no tangible public health benefits. Even worse, the agency’s actions have caused demonstrable public health harm by discouraging many current or potential e-cigarette users from vaping and convincing them to return to cigarette smoking. In other words, the FDA’s actions have actually resulted in a prevention of the loss of customers for the tobacco industry.

Philip Morris couldn’t be happier with the FDA’s actions to date. The agency is protecting the company’s dominant market share of the deadliest consumer products on the market and preventing or discouraging the use of a much safer alternative which would otherwise threaten to make a dent in the company’s profits.

Big Pharma also couldn’t be happier with the FDA’s actions, as the agency has protected the pharmaceutical industry’s terribly ineffective smoking cessation products from competition from what may just be a much more effective alternative for individuals who want to quit smoking but are having extreme difficulty in doing so.

The only one who hasn’t benefited from the agency’s actions is the public, which continues to die by the hundreds each day – due not to electronic cigarettes but to the damn real ones.

The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story is that the absurd regulatory system created by Philip Morris, the health groups, and the politicians is nothing more than a huge public scam. The system is set up to make it look like the nation’s leading tobacco company, the health groups, and the politicians who supported the law are taking action to protect the public’s health and to fight Big Tobacco profits. Instead, the actual effect of the new regulatory system is to make the government a true partner and accomplice in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, to fend off potential less hazardous products that could compete with the market share leaders, and to set up a cozy deal by which existing market share is essentially frozen, existing cigarettes are institutionalized and protected, and new products which could have real public health benefits are thwarted.

The system is working beautifully so far, and the story of the handling of electronic cigarettes under the new regulatory framework is a perfect example. Like clockwork, the FDA has stepped in to protect the deadly cigarette market from potential threats caused by a much safer alternative that has proven to help thousands of smokers to stay off cigarettes or greatly reduce their cigarette consumption.

The status quo is preserved, the profits of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are protected, yet the one group which is harmed is the public.

Vapers are harmed because they are either deprived of the opportunity to switch to a safer alternative that will improve their health or they are encouraged to return from relatively safe vaping back to very hazardous smoking. Smokers are harmed because they are discouraged from trying a potentially life-saving device and instead, are convinced to keep smoking. Nonsmokers are harmed because instead of benefiting from the absence of secondhand smoke associated with vaping, they continue to be exposed to smoke from smokers who decide, at the advice of the FDA, not to use electronic cigarettes but to stick with their Marlboros. Children are harmed because parents who might otherwise be vaping in the home are now smoking in the home.

There are plenty of politicians and groups which have spoken up to protect the interests of Philip Morris and Big Pharma. But few are speaking up to protect the interests of the public. The Rest of the Story will continue to fight for the welfare of the public, and unlike the politicians and anti-smoking groups which joined hands with Philip Morris in setting up this absurd regulatory scheme, will not be bought off by political or financial interests.

17 comments ↓

#1 Anonymous on 09.15.10 at 8:49 PM

Great stuff! This guy makes a lot of sense.

#2 OTP Kid on 09.29.10 at 10:35 AM

Review the archives, I told this blog well over a year ago this would happen, and it is.

#3 TAZ on 10.18.10 at 3:03 PM

Top US Doctor Raves About The Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes

The Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, Joel Niztkin, MD, has just endorsed electronic cigarettes as the safest alternatives to tobacco cigarettes and other tobacco products.

WASHINGTON, DC, October 16, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, Joel Niztkin, MD, has just endorsed electronic cigarettes as the safest alternatives to tobacco cigarettes and other tobacco products. He states that the harm caused by electronic cigarettes aka vapor sticks is less than 1% posed by regular cigarettes.

“If we get all tobacco smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes from regular cigarettes, we would eventually reduce the US death toll from 400,000 to as low as 4000, maybe as low as 400.”

The benefits of electronic cigarettes, aka vapor sticks:

– No longer smelling like smoke in a room full of non-smokers
– No more yellow teeth
– Significantly reduced risk of cancer and emphysema
– No more being a social outcast due to your smoking
– The price of electronic cigarettes will save you $1000 per year
– Recommended by leading doctors
– Just as enjoyable as a regular cigarette, according to long-time smokers

This revolutionary technology has made it so people can continue to smoke, even in public places, with virtually none of the potential danger to one’s health. Also, thousands of people have reported being able to quit smoking tobacco for the first time due to Electronic Cigarettes.

Smokers who were surveyed also raved about a few of the other benefits besides avoiding diseases caused by tobacco such as 1) Financial Benefit. They are savings thousands of dollars per year. 2) Socially Acceptable. Nowadays, smoking cigarettes is viewed as a very negative thing whereas vapor sticks were called “smart” and “hip.”

It is important to point out that Electronic Cigarettes are not made of tobacco, as some people have said, but they do contain nicotine. But the nicotine itself is not really the concern according to leading organization The International Harm Reduction Association:

“Nicotine is probably the second most used drug after caffeine. Amazingly, no one thinks of caffeine as a harmful drug. Nor should they. The possible dangers of nicotine are dwarfed by the dangers associated with tobacco. Pure nicotine has not been associated with the risk of cancer.”

#4 JT on 11.24.10 at 10:39 AM

NEWS FLASH!
Nicotine, which is found in tobacco is an addictive poison.
These new “safer” electronic cigarettes CONTAIN nicotine.
People who “enjoy” smoking, really “enjoy” not feeling the withdraw effects that are associated with NOT SMOKING!
Ingestion of nicotine is slavery. If you ingest nicotine in any form, you are under the control of the person (s) who supply your nicotine. Think that is not true? How do you explain why people are paying >$5.00 per pack for cigarettes in some place in America.
The US Government is complicit in enslaving American citizens by continuing to allow any nicotine product to be sold. If you ingest nicotine you are poisoning yourself. Should that be the right of everyone? To be allowed to slowly poison themselves, so long as they are aware of the risks? If arsenic were addictive, would we allow people to peddle it as a “natural” product? Think about it. Ingesting poisonous substances to alter your conscientiousness is entirely intelligent behavior. Ingesting addictive poisonous substances to alter your consciousness is insanity!

#5 Fred Johnson on 11.28.10 at 2:07 PM

JT is a plant.. why else the critical idiotic comments about nicotine. No Sheet dumb a55! E-cigs are intended solely for those who already smoke giving another avenue a million time less toxic to support replacing their EXISTING habit! ITS NOT SMOKING! Its a switch to vaping!

#6 jersey boy on 11.28.10 at 11:43 PM

JT – Your really not believing what you write are you. I mean I’m wondering what you choice of beverage is? You drink a caffeniated beverage???

#7 OTP Kid on 11.29.10 at 12:26 PM

JT is underage and we do not want 11 year olds on this blog. Please remove

#8 SAM1 on 04.24.11 at 10:09 AM

How many tax $$$ are taken in via the sale of cigarettes each year, nationwide? It all comes back to the money…

#9 Bill Godshall on 04.29.11 at 7:27 PM

The FDA’s announcement http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm252360.htm conceding to Judge Richard Leon’s ruling in NJOY v FDA https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2009cv0771-54 means that e-cigarettes, e-liquid, nicotine gums, lozenges, patches, nasal sprays, skin creams, beverages and at least several dissolvables now join cigars and pipe tobacco as tobacco products that are currently unregulated by the FDA (as long as the manufacturer or importer make no therapeutic claim).

The FDA stated it “intends to propose a regulation” to extend the many different Chapter IX provisions of the FSPTCA
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ031.111.pdf to ALL currently unregulated tobacco products. But the regulatory promulgation process could take several years, and the Secretary of HHS must determine that any new regulation “would be appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

Although scientific evidence has found that cigars and pipe tobacco can pose health risks, there is no evidence that smokefree e-cigarettes, e-liquid, gums, lozenges, patches, nasal sprays, skin creams, beverages or dissolvables have harmed users. In contrast, there is mounting evidence that these smokefree alternatives have helped many smokers reduce health risks by reducing cigarette consumption and/or quitting smoking.

The marketing and public health ramifications of Monday’s announcement by the FDA are likely to include:
– e-cigarette sales will continue skyrocketing and many more smokers will switch,
– other new nicotine products (gums, lozenges, patches, nasal sprays, skin creams, beverages, etc.) will be marketed to smokers as less hazardous smokefree tobacco alternatives,
– cigarette consumption will decline more rapidly and tobacco companies will market more smokefree alternatives,
– sales of NRT products for smoking cessation will decline significantly due to price competition from nearly identical products marketed as tobacco,
– states will enact new laws banning the sale of all tobacco products to minors (by redefining tobacco product as “any product derived from tobacco and intended for human consumption”), and
– tobacco harm reduction products and policies will be endorsed by more public health officials, organizations and advocates.

Bill Godshall

#10 Lolita on 06.01.11 at 3:59 AM

Electronic cigarettes are as harmful as common cigarettes. The one benefit is that they do not expose people to second-hand smoke.

#11 Vapor Vixen on 06.02.11 at 10:59 AM

Lolita – It’s obvious that you have no clue. Excuse me but your comment is absurd!

#12 Lolita on 06.03.11 at 5:14 AM

The FDA made everything to remove electronic cigarettes from the market, asuumed a lot measures and succeeded in it. Generally I think the Agency executed great work removing electronic cigarettes because they indeed do not represent the cessation aid. According to the latest research, the most adequate alternative is smoking cessation programs and medicines that help reduce nicotine addiction.

#13 Vapor Vixen on 06.03.11 at 11:06 AM

Lolita – Judge Leon spanked the FDA BIG TIME! What are you talking about. You don’t have a clue. You must work for Big Pharma. Oh my if you think single digit success is success you must be kidding. And the bubble on the Chantix drug is busting. No electronic cigarette has killed anyone. No one! Nada! Zero! But Chantix has killed hundreds!

#14 Lolita on 06.06.11 at 2:18 AM

What are you talking about?You just promote e-cigarettes, nothing more. If you are such follower of healthy lifestyle and care about people, propose adequate alternatives for quitting smoking and not e-cigarette that does not help in it.

#15 Vapor Vixen on 06.07.11 at 2:29 AM

No you attack e-cigs like they are cigarettes. E-cigs are like 1000 times safer than e-cigs. You really are missing the point!

#16 Lolita on 06.08.11 at 3:42 AM

Yes, they are safer, but to my mind they are not smoking cessation alternative.

#17 alfiesaden on 01.04.12 at 6:50 AM

hi there – is it just me !! can any one explain why when i type in the bing browser “www.tobaccotoday.info” i get a different site yet whe i type it in google its ok? could this be a bug in my system or is any one else having same probs ?
sadensy

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