Are the new FDA e-cig regulations a windfall for Big Tobacco at the expense of public health?
The May 5 announcement of the new FDA e-cig regulations places an entire industry in jeopardy, but is this the real issue? According to the agency, these new rules will only protect public health, perhaps more specifically “teen health.” As public officials line up to support the FDA’s decision, the common political rhetoric usually involves a desire to prevent e-cig sales to teens. By focusing the spotlight on America’s youth, the FDA appears almost noble in its efforts to stamp out vaping.
The agency claims that teenage use of e-cigs leads to smoking tobacco. For the over-21 crowd, the FDA acknowledges, but only when pushed, that electronic cigarettes appear to be a marginally successful smoking cessation product. But because adult use creates temptation in the minds of American kids, all e-cigs must be regulated if not banned completely.
The claim that e-cigs cause teens to start smoking while helping adults to quit is contradictory. And two research studies by both Yale and Cornell agree.
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Yale found that by restricting sales of e-cigs to teens, teen smoking will rapidly increase as they turn to the easier-to-obtain tobacco cigarettes as an alternative. As a result, teens buy cigarettes, teens get hooked on cigarettes, teens grow into adults hooked on cigarettes, public health declines, and Big Tobacco gets rich. Cornell’s results were very similar.
FDA e-cig regulations and “unknown dangers”
Organizations like the FDA and the CDC also tend to issue large numbers of press releases on the “unknown dangers” of e-cigarettes. However, the known dangers of tobacco cigarettes have been well-documents for decades. No product is entirely “risk-risk,” whether it’s an e-cig or an automobile. But why would an authority of the federal government give preference to a deadly product over one that is, by all estimations, 95% safer.
(Related Article: ROYAL UK MEDICAL GROUP TAKES STRONG STANCE IN FAVOR OF E-CIGS)
This 95% estimation comes from highly regarded medical research, but the research originates in Great Britain. Should that make a difference? Just days before the release of the new FDA e-cig regulations, the UK’s Royal College of Physicians stated that use of electronic cigarettes should be welcomed and encouraged by national governments rather than banned and demonized. Meanwhile, the 28 countries of the European Union issued e-cig regulations on the very same day as the FDA. But theirs are more vape-friendly and tend to focus more on regulating nicotine levels and bottle sizes than anything else. Why the huge differences in opinion?
FDA e-cig regulations: Winners and losers
The boom in e-cig sales in recent years is drawing a lot of attention. As e-cig sales rise, tobacco sales fall. As a result, Big Tobacco makes less money. Politicians receive less financial and political support from Big Tobacco. And federal and state government receive less tax revenues from tobacco cigarette manufacturers. Nobody wins.
What better way to level the playing field than to release new FDA e-cig regulations that classify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, even though e-cigs contain absolutely no tobacco whatsoever? All that the FDA has to do is create a cleverly worded statement that the regulations are a major step in the war against teen smoking. The American People will fall for it because vaping and smoking look almost exactly the same. Unfortunately, according to the smart people at Yale and Cornell, the new FDA e-cig regulations will likely be a huge financial windfall for Big Tobacco at the expense of public health.
(Related Article: SECRET LAW MAY ACTIVATE FDA E-CIG REGULATIONS BY MAY 17, 2016)