The Washington Post released an article today about some of the discussion included at the Tobacco Merchants Association annual meeting in Williamsburg, VA.
Mitch Zeller, who took over as director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products in March, states the public health community is grappling with the idea that some new tobacco products may pose less of a health risk, electronic cigarettes included.
At the TMA conference, Zeller says, “Our job is to regulate the manufacture, sale and marketing of the tobacco products within our jurisdiction. And we try to do it efficiently, effectively and fairly.” There are two ideas behind regulating tobacco products: some believe that there isn’t a safe product and the public needs to be pushed to quit altogether and those that believe lower-risk alternatives need to be available.
According to the article:
“One such product that many have claimed has potential to reduce health risks are electronic cigarettes, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that users inhale.
E-cigarettes are gaining much of the attention as the industry pushes to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business, which has become tougher in the face of tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma. Some e-cigarettes are made to look like a real cigarette with a tiny light on the tip that glows.”
The electronic cigarette community is growing at a rapid pace. Since 2006, thousands of users have turned into millions and e-cig sales could double this year to $1 billion.
The FDA does intend to regulate electronic cigarettes in the not so distant future and the public health officials state that there haven’t been enough studies about the effectiveness of the product to help people quit smoking.
Hopefully we can get the studies needed before this regulation begins.
What do you think is going to happen over the next couple years?