The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is currently reviewing new federal regulations requiring all e-cigarette products sold after February 15, 2007, to apply for federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, regardless of whether they are new products or previously created.
The proposed FDA “deeming rule” would also extend the agency’s tobacco regulatory authority to consumer products without tobacco, such as e-cigarettes.
Prohibition, Not Regulation
Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University, says the proposed rules will not promote public health.
“The deeming rule absurdly gives a free pass to regular cigarettes while requiring these incredibly stringent regulations for the much-safer electronic cigarettes, which, to me, makes absolutely no sense,” Siegel said. “If anything, it should be the other way around. Cigarettes should be much more tightly regulated, since we know they’re killing people, and the e-cigarettes should have more of a free ride.”
“This is not really regulation. It’s prohibition,” Siegel said.
Treating Different Things Differently
Nathan Makla, state government relations manager for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says laws and regulatory agencies should acknowledge the big differences between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes, treating them as the significantly different products they are.
“E-cigarettes simulate the physical and psychological act of smoking while eliminating most of the harmful chemicals found in conventional cigarettes,” Makla said. “Vaping is not the same as smoking tobacco products. E-cigarettes and other vaping devices have far fewer negative consequences for vapers and bystanders, and they should not be treated the same.”
Makla says scientific research shows e-cigarettes have little negative impact on the public health and create no health issues for non-vapers.
“Drexel University professor Dr. Igor Burstyn reviewed more than 9,000 studies of e-cigarette liquids and vapor,” Makla said. “He found exposure to e-cigarette vapor poses no health threat to bystanders.”
Robert Lurie ([email protected]) writes from Tempe, Arizona.
Zachary Cahna and Michael Siegel, “Electronic Cigarettes As A Harm Reduction Strategy For Tobacco Control: A Step Forward Or A Repeat Of Past Mistakes,” Journal of Public Health Policy: https://heartland.org/policy-documents/electronic-cigarettes-harm-reduction-strategy-tobacco-control-step-forward-or-repea/