Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FDA Tells Researchers and the Public that It is Not Sure Cigarette Smoking is any Worse than Vaping

As I revealed yesterday, the FDA - supposedly committed to using the most rigorous science to regulate the continuum of nicotine-delivery products - stated in its proposed electronic cigarette deeming regulations that it is not sure that vaping is any less hazardous than cigarette smoking. In fact, the deeming regulations suggest that it is a problem that many consumers perceive vaping to be less hazardous than smoking. Moreover, the regulations make it clear that electronic cigarette companies will not be allowed to tell their customers that their products are any safer than real cigarettes, thus hiding the truth from the public and essentially requiring companies to implicitly lie to consumers.

Today, I reveal that it is not only in its proposed deeming regulations that the FDA has acknowledged its lack of knowledge that smoking is more hazardous than vaping. The FDA explicitly states that it is unsure that smoking is more hazardous than vaping in the scientific literature itself.

In a Tobacco Control article by the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, the agency states: "While e-cigarette aerosol may contain fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke, studies evaluating whether e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes are inconclusive."

Later in the article, the FDA reiterates its position: "while the inhaled compounds associated with e-cigarettes may be fewer and less toxic than those from traditional cigarettes, data to establish whether e-cigarette use as a whole is less harmful to the individual user than traditional cigarettes are not conclusive."

The Rest of the Story

Yet again, the FDA has made it eminently clear that it is not sure that cigarette smoking is any more hazardous than vaping.

This is particularly disturbing, as five years have passed and numerous studies have been published since the FDA originally told the public that cigarette smoking may be no more hazardous than using non-tobacco, non-combusted electronic cigarettes.

If the FDA doesn't have the evidence needs at the current time to conclude that smoking is more dangerous than vaping, then what kind of evidence will it take?

And how can we explain the FDA's failure to appreciate that smoking is much more hazardous than vaping? It is not based on solid scientific reasoning. Instead, it appears to be based on either politics or ideology.

And that, more than anything else, is what scares me about the FDA's approach to the regulation of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

This scientific folly highlights the absurdity of having the FDA now approving cigarettes, but threatening to take a huge number of the electronic ones - which contain no tobacco - off the market.

Since the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control passed, the FDA has done nothing little to warn the public about the risks of cigarette smoking, but as we see today, through its actions and statements on electronic cigarettes, is actually undermining the public's appreciation of the severe health hazards associated with conventional cigarette smoking.

The Tobacco Act has created a situation where by statute, the FDA must approve deadly cigarettes for sale and consumption in the United States, but where the very same FDA is threatening to remove from the market many brands of devices which are actually helping perhaps hundreds of thousands of people to keep off of cigarettes.

When, five years after it was clear to most knowledgeable scientists that electronic cigarettes were safer than real cigarettes, the FDA continues to tell the public that cigarette smoking may be no more hazardous than vaping, you know we have serious problems with tobacco control in this country.

1 comment:

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