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The FDA’s Challenge on E-Cigs

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

By Scott Gottlieb (Original source WSJ)

“Electronic cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but they aren’t safe. There’s evidence they can damage the lungs, and they’re also a path to nicotine addiction. Last year the percentage of teenagers using nicotine grew at the fastest rate ever recorded for an addictive substance, according to a survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The same organization also published a survey that found that children who use e-cigs are more likely to become long-term smokers of regular cigarettes than children who never use them.

Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration have a tough job. How can they preserve e-cigarettes as a tool to help adult smokers while snuffing out the teen smoking epidemic? The answer depends on recognizing the differences between types of e-cigs.

E-cigs are regulated by the FDA under the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The FDA has a legal obligation to reduce death and disease from tobacco and to assess youth initiation as a key factor in determining the “net public health benefit” of a new tobacco product like e-cigs.”

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