Smoking, one of the most substantial health concerns we face as a society, is expected to lead to the loss of approximately a billion lives by the end of this century. In a recent column addressing this issue and how electronic cigarettes may play a role in remedying it, Dr. Gilbert Ross, M.D. talks about how and why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is “shielding smokers from the good news about e-cigarettes.”
FDA Reaction to the Growing E-Cig Industry
Electronic cigarettes have potentially helped millions of smokers say goodbye to the effects of burning tobacco. A recent study even showed that e-cigs are as effective as the nicotine patch in helping smokers reduce or eliminate tobacco consumption.Considering how harmful smoking is and how difficult it can be to quit, one would think that any product that helped anyone kick the habit would be welcomed by health organizations with open arms.
Though a logical conclusion to draw, it’s unfortunately not the right one. In fact, the FDA has made its staunch opposition to e-cigarettes perfectly clear. According to its website, the FDA has stated its “intent to issue a proposed rule that would extend FDA’s tobacco product authorities” to products like e-cigarettes, essentially lumping them into the same category as tobacco cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ross says, clinical studies continue to indicate that electronic cigarettes could actually “help smokers quit.” Perhaps one of the doctor’s biggest concerns is that, when the time comes for the FDA to make its final decision regarding e-cig regulation, all of that compelling scientific evidence will be ignored.
Basic Logic vs. “Willful Ignorance” and “Greed”
Dr. Ross isn’t the only medical professional who shares this perspective. Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health agrees that the FDA’s warnings against e-cigarettes are unfounded and illogical. According to Dr. Siegel, this is what the FDA is communicating when it warns the public away from electronic cigarettes: Why risk using a product that may present unknown health risks when you could continue smoking cigarettes, a product for which we already have a long list of proven health risks?
Unfortunately for many vapers in the U.S., giving up electronic cigarettes because they haven’t been officially deemed safe would mean returning to smoking tobacco, a habit that is the very definition of unsafe. Until the FDA fully investigates e-cig ingredients, it’s likely that the products will continue to be condemned.
How do you feel about the way the FDA has approached electronic cigarettes? If you could talk to the authorities in charge of the proposed regulations, what would you say to them?