Friday, June 06, 2014

Glantz and Colleagues Essentially Call for a Ban on Electronic Cigarettes: Banning Flavors Would Ban All Existing E-Cigarettes

Stan Glantz and several colleagues have submitted a comment to the FDA calling for a complete ban on the use of flavors in electronic cigarettes.

The authors write: "FDA should immediately under the current rulemaking establish a product standard prohibiting flavors in e-cigarettes... ."

The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story is that Glantz and colleagues are essentially calling for a ban on all existing electronic cigarettes. Why? Because every electronic cigarette contains flavors. In fact, the presence of flavors is the only distinguishing characteristic of different brands of e-liquids or cartridges.

The ingredients of virtually every electronic cigarette liquid on the market are:

1. Nicotine
2. Propylene glycol and/or glycerin
3. Flavors

That's it! That's basically all there is.

For example, let's take a look at the ingredient list for some of the major e-cigarette brands on the market:

VUSE: nicotine, PG, VG, water, flavorings
Blu: nicotine, PG, VG, water, citric acid, flavorings
Mark Ten: nicotine, PG, VG, flavorings
V2: nicotine, PG, flavorings
LOGIC: nicotine, PG, water, flavorings
NJOY: nicotine, PG, VG, flavorings

Virtually every electronic cigarette consists of nicotine, PG and/or VG, and flavorings, plus or minus a little water and perhaps citric acid. It is the flavor that makes the brand. In most cases, even the "tobacco"-flavored electronic cigarettes contain flavorings.

It's easy to see that a ban on flavors is essentially a ban on electronic cigarettes. It would ban virtually every electronic cigarette currently on the market. Moreover, it would mean that there could only be one type of electronic cigarette liquid, which would have to contain just nicotine and propylene glycol and/or glycerine, and there would be no way for different liquids to distinguish themselves. The product would completely lose its appeal to smokers and the cigarette market would be protected forever.

Such a regulatory action would remove the ability of companies to market their products and would eliminate the taste and appeal of the product, handing the entire cigarette category over to Big Tobacco.

In my opinion, a ban on flavors in electronic cigarettes would completely destroy the electronic cigarette market. If the FDA is going to ban the flavors in e-cigarettes, then it might as well just ban the product entirely.

Why would public health practitioners like Dr. Glantz and his colleagues support an action that will end the great electronic cigarette experiment and permanently hand the entire cigarette market over to Big Tobacco?

If any of my readers can find out, please let me know because it is baffling to understand why a long-time anti-smoking advocate like Stan would want to protect cigarettes from the most serious competition they have ever faced. If this flavoring ban is enacted, Stan will have the rare role of being not only the hero of the tobacco control movement but the hero of the cigarette promotion movement as well.

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