FDA Should Be Applauded for Finally Enforcing the Law on Illegal E-cig Sales to Youth, But Must Speak Out About Benefits to Smokers

Published April 27, 2018

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced the initial results of its nationwide crackdown on retailers selling e-cigarette and vaping products to minors.

Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center and policy advisor at The Heartland Institute, applauds the FDA’s efforts, and said that responsible regulation is possible while still offering adult consumers an alternative to cigarettes that significantly reduces the harm from smoking.

“We applaud FDA for cracking down on online and physical retailers running afoul of the law and selling vaping and nicotine-delivery products to kids under 18. The presence of life-saving products like Juul and other e-cigarettes are a boon to public health. But anti-e-cigarette activists want to throw the baby out with bathwater,” said Stier.

As an example, Stier points to the statement on Twitter by leading anti-smoking group, the Truth Initiative, stating that flavored e-cigarettes like JUUL are “especially dangerous” because young users are misinformed about the harmfulness of the products.

“The notion that e-cigarettes, which all contain flavors appealing to adult smokers are “especially dangerous” is recklessly dangerous, given that the FDA has already stated that the vast majority of tobacco related disease comes from the combustion of tobacco,” said Stier.

“We take today’s announcement as a potentially positive step, if the FDA action signals its ability to at once enforce existing laws preventing sales to minors, while at the same time making sure that adult smokers are aware that products like Juul are significantly less harmful than cigarettes. We call on the FDA to take action on this front immediately, by unequivocally informing smokers that these products are dramatically less harmful than cigarettes.

“We believe that the FDA’s actions are a weak response to a concerted political effort to overstate the dangers of e-cigarettes. If youth use is as widespread as has been reported, the FDA should take responsibility and do a better job of cracking down on the bad-actors, not responsible manufacturers of lower-risk products like Juul, which does not market to youth,” said Stier.

[Originally Published at the Consumer Choice Center]