Researchers Back Vaping & Ask the FDA to Keep An Open-Mind On E-Cigs
As the support for vaping continues to grow, another group of researchers are shining the light on the FDA asking them to consider the benefits that vapor products offer people looking for an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Seven leading tobacco experts and researchers from across the globe are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep an “open-minded” perspective when it comes to the regulation of e-cigarettes. In a recent publication in the journal Addiction, the researchers drew evidence from published studies on e-cigs and reached the conclusion that vaping can effectively reduce smoking with a great possibility of reduction in tobacco related deaths.
From an article via The Daily Caller, lead researcher David T. Levy, a professor in the department of oncology at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center stated his team’s thoughts on the FDA’s current views on vaping, “We’re concerned the FDA, which has asserted its right to regulate e-cigarettes, will focus solely on the possibility that e-cigarettes and other vapor nicotine products might act as a gateway to cigarette use…”
“We believe that the discussion to date has been slanted against e-cigarettes, which is unfortunate, because the big picture tells us that these products appear to be used mostly by people who already are or who are likely to become cigarette smokers.”
The FDA is set to finalize and release their regulations on e-cigarettes, which if passed the way it is currently written, would subject all vapor products released after February 15, 2007 to go through the Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process. The FDA’s PMTA process is slated to be a time-consuming and expensive process that most e-cigarette businesses will not be able to bear; if passed, the PMTA will easily wipe out 99% of the products on the vaping market.
Though the FDA’s pending regulations hang overhead, the House Appropriations Committee, voted 31-19 to amend the predicate date set by the FDA to a more recent date, which would allow vapor companies to be grandfathered in under the regulations of the PMTA process.
Why The FDA Needs To Reconsider Their Opinion On Vaping
Levy and his colleagues state in their article that e-cigs have a high potential to counteract the health risks that come from smoking tobacco cigarettes. Check out the other important points they made in their report:
- E-cigarettes carry the potential to improve a population’s overall health by reducing cigarette use in countries where the use of tobacco cigarettes are still high and have individuals who are looking to quit smoking.
- In the US, Canada and England, cigarette smoking rates have gone down more in the last two years than they have in previous years. This trend coincides with the increased popularity of vaping.
- Though some say e-cigs may act as a gateway to tobacco cigarette smoking, evidence shows that vaping acts more as a tool for smoking cessation for those individuals who would have picked up smoking with or without e-cigs.
A Switch In Perspective For Vaping Is Needed
Due to the current debate over whether e-cigs help or hinder the tobacco control efforts of the government, the researchers feel that their report may be viewed as controversial.
“We don't want to encourage e-cigarette use by youth and young adults who would not have otherwise smoked. However, the primary aim of tobacco control policy should be to discourage cigarette use while providing the means for smokers to more easily quit smoking, even if that means switching for some time to e-cigarettes rather than quitting all nicotine use,” they state in Addiction.
In the end, the researchers give a warning to the FDA stating that heavy regulations and high taxation on vaping products would do nothing but counteract the benefits that e-cigarettes can provide.
“Increasing e-cigarette prices by taxing them the same way as cigarettes will discourage youth VNP use, but also discourage use by smokers, especially those of lower socioeconomic status, who are trying to quit,” states Levy.
The authors of the study included lead researcher David T. Levy, PhD, of Georgetown University; K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, of the Medical University of South Carolina; Andrea C. Villanti, PhD, MPH, Ray Niaura, PhD, and David B. Abrams, PhD, from Truth Initiative; Geoffrey T. Fond, PhD, of the University of Waterloo in Canada; and Ron Borland, PhD, of Cancer Control Victoria, in Australia.