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E-cigarettes light up controversy

E-cigarettes have lit up more controversy.  Mitchell Zeller, J.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, said there are two key questions regarding e-cigarettes and behavior: “Who is using e-cigarettes?” and “How are the e-cigarettes being used?”

Zeller spoke out at the yearly meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. He voiced his concerns over his questions regarding e-cigarettes: “The only way to get answers to that is to fund the research to do it.  We’ve been funding research on e-cigarettes for a while and will continue to do that. As a regulatory maker, we’ll then make regulatory policy decisions based on what the science tells us.”

e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not presently regulate e-cigarettes.  However, Zeller reported, that the FDA will release a proposed regulation which will expand its product jurisdictions beyond that of cigarettes, smokeless and roll -your-own tobacco.  He stated: “We’re very close to being able to announce (that) proposed rule.”

Zeller also commented that if the group of today’s smokers who cannot or will not quit would at least use e-cigarettes in place of regular cigarettes then “there’s a chance there could be a positive impact on public health. But the standard that Congress has given the FDA to implement and enforce – when that day comes that we do regulate e cigarettes – it’s going to be about the net population (impact), not just the subset of smokers unable or unwilling to quit.”

Zeller posed this question to his audience: “What if it turns out that the use pattern is not complete substitution but situational substitution, where an otherwise health-concerned, interested-in-quitting smoker is using e-cigarettes as a bridge to get from their last cigarette to their next cigarette?”

He concluded: “That would have a net negative impact on public health. It’s going to be the FDA’s job to figure out what the net of all of that is, but right now all of us in government and research have far more questions than answers when it comes to e- cigarettes.”

At present one thing is certain.  With sales of e-cigarettes growing to over 20 million dollars last year concerned clinicians, the World Health Organization, Congress and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all still have a few questions and concerns regarding the numerous potential health risks and effects of e-cigarettes.

(Image courtesy of TheAustralian )

 

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.
  • crunchy2k

    What questions? The three main ingredients in e-liquid have been shown to be cancer free and good-to-go for long term use in every study done. The EU decided last year to regulate this new device as a consumer product. How many FDA financed pseudo-science studies have to be done before the FDA falls into line?

    • Will Phoenix

      Hi Crunchy,
      I sometimes get the impression the FDA is oh so careful because of the government connection and how litigious we are today. Other than that, I have no clue. Thanks for weighing in on this one!

  • Dmgdriver

    the FDA and the federal government have no concern about whether anyone quits smoking or not. Once they regulate something the up the taxes on it. Nicotine is not the cancer causing ingredient in cigarettes, otherwise they would require prescriptions for the nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches, The tar and other chemicals found when the tobacco leaf is burned contains the carcinogens. The E Cigs contain none of them. it provides what is needed for both the mental and physical dependence of smoking. If 20% of todays smokers quit right now for 1 month it would cost both the state and federal governments billions in lost tax revenues.

  • http://www.cigbuyer.com/ Jeremy @ Cig Buyer.com

    “What if it turns out that the use pattern is not complete substitution but situational substitution, where an otherwise health-concerned, interested-in-quitting smoker is using e-cigarettes as a bridge to get from their last cigarette to their next cigarette?”

    WHY DOES THIS MATTER??? If a smoker substitutes any of their smoking for a less risky behavior, isn’t that still positive? Although electronic cigarettes are helping thousands of people quit altogether, not everyone that picks up an e-cig is able to – or wants to quit. How would this have a “negative impact on public health”? Any substitution is better than no substitution…