The Food and Drug Administration already has its hands all over the advertising and sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products. And rightly so. Smoking remains a preventable health hazard that kills way too many Americans each year and ratchets up health care costs across the board.
Last week the FDA laid out a proposal that would expand its reach into a host of other smoking products, including an emerging market of electronic cigarettes.
Once again, rightly so.
Also on the FDA’s list are dissolvable tobacco products, pipe tobacco, cigars and hookahs. The e-cigarette market is one likely to raise the most questions.
E-cigarettes have been touted as a way to help those addicted to smoking by offering a product that delivers a similar satisfaction with fewer of the health concerns. The battery-powered e-cigarettes deliver doses of nicotine through vapor as liquid in a cylinder is heated. But doubts are starting to crop up about the safety of e-cigarettes and whether they actually are cancer-free alternatives.
The FDA wants new rules that would bans e-cigarette sales to those younger than 18. The FDA also wants to force e-cigarette makers to list ingredients.
The upshot here: E-cigarette makers should have to prove their product and the vapor it produces are safe. That’s the FDA’s stance on a product that is so new to the market and is, at this point, avoiding the scrutiny put on the cigarette cousin it’s working to replace.
The FDA’s stance here is a bit of welcomed caution.
Journal & Courier, Lafayette. April 26, 2014.