We may be in danger of whiplash from all the back and forth the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has subjected us to when it comes to its opinions on e-cigarettes The good news, however, is we may not be in (as much) danger when it comes to e-cigarettes themselves. That is the most recent status of the FDA’s rules and regulations when it comes to e-cigs and vaping products.
As per a recent press release, the Administration noted a pretty significant change in its e-cigarette policy, which includes relaxing restrictions on these kinds of products (its previous policy might’ve rendered them nearly obsolete). Instead, the FDA will focus on cutting down on the number of combustible cigarettes and tobacco in use.
According to the FDA, the new approach puts nicotine front and center when it comes to combating Big Tobacco. “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths every single year,” the Administration noted. And while vaping and e-cigarettes have long been a contentious topic when it comes to quitting smoking, recent research from the U.K. appears to suggest that these devices ought to be promoted “as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.”
U.S. regulations, however, wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Last May, the FDA put forth regulations that would’ve required a costly and time-consuming FDA approval process — the same process that regular cigarettes must undergo. That obviously would’ve made vapes and e-cigs a lot more difficult to obtain, but now, the FDA is changing its tune. The new announcement pushes the deadline for that approval process all the way back to 2022, and even suggests that such stringent regulations may not always be in place.
“Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts,” Gottlieb noted. As a result, ” … the FDA is striking an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging development of innovative tobacco products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes.”