Just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the launching of a new probe into the possible adverse health effects of flavored tobacco products. The investigation will last for 90-days, and FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb is asking for “public input.” The fundamental argument posed by anti-tobacco groups is that flavored tobacco products are a contributing factor to long-term nicotine addiction.
According to Gottlieb, nicotine addiction is bad – very, very bad. It’s so bad, in fact, that the agency is also considering regulating the maximum allowances of nicotine in tobacco products, as well. These additional regulations – should they come to pass – will also negatively affect the vaping industry.
Since e-liquids are now reclassified as “tobacco products” per the FDA deeming regulations, the vapers may get a double whammy of new anti-vaping restrictions heading their way by the end of the year. Within a very short window of time, both flavored and high-nicotine e-liquids may become essentially extinct in the American marketplace.
The Etter-Eissenberg vape study
Two French scientists by the names of Jean-Francois Etter and Thomas Eissenberg published the results of a 2015 study entitled Dependence levels in users of electronic cigarettes, nicotine gums and tobacco cigarettes. The paper is posted in the online medical journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The basic premise of the study was to compare the addiction levels of vaping compared to several NRTs (nicotine replacement therapies).
The scientists monitored and evaluated the individual levels of nicotine dependence of hundreds of participants using a standard scientific methodology called the Fagerström Test. What Etter and Eissenberg discovered is that users of NRTs are “significantly more addicted” to their gums, lozenges, and patches than vapers are to their flavored e-liquids.
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The researchers even compared related addiction levels of both short- and long-term users and vapers. They also ran comparisons involving vapers vaping e-liquids of varying nicotine concentrations. No matter the parameters, vapers’ dependence on e-liquids steadily declined over time while the NRT users’ dependence continuously increased.
The results of scientific experiments like the Etter-Eissenberg study might suggest that the FDA should consider abolishing NRTS rather than flavored e-liquids. If nicotine is so very, very bad, then the more addictive NRTs are the real enemy, right?
Why does the FDA prefer NRTs over vaping to quit smoking?
Furthermore, why is the FDA going after flavorings and nicotine anyway? Study after study has proven that it’s not the nicotine in combustible tobacco that kills you. What kills smokers is the tar and thousands of added chemicals intentionally and needlessly placed inside combustible cigarettes peddled by Big Tobacco and specifically chosen because of their highly addictive properties.
According to the Gottlieb, the FDA’s main objective is to transition smokers to “modified risk products.” Vaping and HnB technology “might” be included in this category, but only if the 90-day probe deems them as such.
“We’re looking to try to transition smokers to modified risk products, less harmful products. We see a lot of potential from new product innovation that’s coming on the market including electronic cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems. It might be modified risk ways to receive nicotine if you’re an adult who still wants to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine. And so by regulating the nicotine content in combustible cigarettes, we think we can more quickly migrate smokers off of combustible tobacco onto modified risk products, or preferable to encourage them to quit altogether.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on CNBC’s Squawk Box
So, if the jury is still out as to whether vaping is a “modified risk product,” then what products does the FDA consider to be modified risk anyway? According to the FDA, all other forms of FDA-approved NRTs like nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches fall into this category (even though studies like Etter and Eissenberg’s show that NRTs are more addictive than vaping).
Meanwhile, the patents for each of these products are owned by Big Pharma. And Big Pharma contributes a great deal of money to the reelection campaigns of many, many public officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
Big Pharma is to NRTS as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is to guns. Both organizations seem to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep selling their products – no matter how many teenagers get killed in the process!
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