The US Food and Drug Administration has moved on nicotine, and is pushing ecigarettes forward, in what seems like a reversal of its previous plans...
Scott Gottlieb M.D, the FDA Commissioner recently appointed by the Trump Administration, has argued for a reduction in the amount of nicotine in cigarettes and says that alternative methods such as ecigarettes should also be considered.
Writing on the FDA site Mr Gottlieb said that in preventing deaths from smoking and tobacco ‘the key lies in taking a new and comprehensive approach to the regulation of nicotine.’
He said “There are two key facts about tobacco use that must be front and center in our thinking if we’re going to be serious about altering the current trajectory of preventable tobacco-related deaths.
“Fact One: The overwhelming amount of the death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes. Addiction causes long-term sustained use. But it’s exposure to the harmful chemicals that cause disease. Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users.
“And Fact Two: Almost all adult smokers started smoking when they were kids. Nearly 90 percent started smoking before the age of 18, and 95 percent by age 21. If you make it to age 26 without smoking, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favour that you won’t become a smoker. Only about 1 percent of cigarette smokers start at that point or later in their lives.”
A Route to Fairer Regulation
The FDA now clearly targeting smoking, or more precisely nicotine, to reduce the numbers of youngsters getting hooked. Ecigarettes, once seen as the route to smoking, are now being viewed as a way out for those already addicted and will face what many feel is much fairer regulation.
“Almost all adult smokers started smoking when they were kids,” said Dr Gottlieb. “Nearly 90 percent started smoking before the age of 18, and 95 percent by age 21. If you make it to age 26 without smoking, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favour that you won’t become a smoker. Only about 1 percent of cigarette smokers start at that point or later in their lives.”
The commissioner describes cigarettes as the only the ‘only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users’ and goes on to say that 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.
This news is especially good for US vapers, where previous plans would have seen around 99% of existing vaping products banned according to one commentator.
Unanswered Questions About Risks
Research in the US has also showed that reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes has been hugely effective in getting smokers to quit. However it would require nicotine levels to be dropped immediately as a gradual reduction could encourage people to smoke more.
It’s perhaps worth noting that Dr. Gottlieb, a medical doctor turned venture capitalist who has previously consulted for Big Pharma, also owns an interest in a vaping franchise company.
He added: “even with unanswered questions about benefits and risks, there are now different technologies to deliver nicotine, for those who need it, that doesn’t bring with it the deadly consequences of burning tobacco and inhaling the resulting smoke.”