Tag: e-cigarettes

John Tierney joins Aaron M. Renn to discuss the federal government’s efforts to limit electronic cigarettes (vaping), and the corruption of the public health profession more generally.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, public health officials combatted epidemics of cholera and dysentery through improvements in water and sewage systems. In its modern form, however, this once-noble profession acts largely as an advocate for progressive causes, with trivial priorities including taxes on soda, calorie counts for restaurants, and free condoms.

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part III

 

This is the last in a three-part series on e-cigarettes. Part I is available here. Part II is available here.

E-cigarettes or vapor products aren’t specifically mentioned in the Tobacco Control Act. The FDA had no expressed mandate to do anything. But that isn’t stopping them from trying. If the FDA actions are not significantly changed by the administration, the Congress, and potentially the courts, FDA regulations will certainly do more to harm public health than benefit it. The nexus used by the FDA to sweep vapor products into its regulatory regime was that nicotine in the products was “tobacco derived.” Most, or all of it, is, just like the nicotine used in gums and patches. Frankly it’s cheaper to acquire nicotine from tobacco than it is to acquire it from other plants (it’s in tomatoes, eggplant, and other nightshades) or to create it in a lab. But, as regulatory agencies often do, the FDA has indicated that they will broadly exercise authority to regulate devices (that contain no nicotine and are not tobacco-derived) or zero nicotine liquids.

Most significantly, the FDA deeming rule related to these products creates an effective ban on tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of existing products. The Tobacco Control Act and subsequent FDA regulations allowed all cigarette products sold before 2007 to remain on the market so long as they complied with existing rules. Rather than allow existing vapor products to remain on the market upon publication of the deeming rule, the FDA immediately banned any new products from entering the market and will require all existing products to complete a prohibitively expensive and largely arbitrary application process, with no clear guidance from the FDA and little or no likelihood of approval.

In this AEI Events Podcast, a group of experts convene to discuss the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) excessive regulation of e-cigarettes and what might be done to further encourage their use as an alternative to smoking. AEI’s Sally Satel begins by surveying the epidemiology of smoking and the potential of e-cigarettes to function as a cessation tool. In the following conversation, panelists discuss the history of e-cigarette regulation, potential legislative fixes to current regulations, and the role of pending litigation in scaling back the FDA’s regulations.

Panelists include Azim Chowdhury (Keller and Heckman LLP), Greg Conley (American Vaping Association), Sally Satel (AEI), Saul Shiffman (University of Pittsburgh), and Alan D. Viard (AEI). The discussion is moderated by Stan Veuger (AEI).

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part II

 

This is the second in a three-part series on e-cigarettes. Part I is available here.

Vapor products contain no tobacco. They produce no smoke. Most contain nicotine and it’s the same nicotine used in FDA-approved gums and patches. While the devices look different, they all operate by heating a liquid solution (propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavor) to produce an aerosol. Importantly, the products allow users to replicate the act of smoking. Like smokers, vapers engage hands and mouths in a ritual similar to the one they practiced every day for many years as a smoker. Like a smoker, the vaper inhales and exhales and can both feel and see the vapor produced. But unlike cigarette smoke, the aerosol dissipates quickly. There’s no smoke, no tar, and no carbon monoxide – the things that cause half of all smokers to get sick and some to die. Nicotine doesn’t cause lung cancer or make smokers sick. As far as its heath impact, it’s comparable to caffeine. As long as you don’t consume caffeine or nicotine through smoking, most people can use it without incident for an entire adult lifetime. Nicotine also seems to bring health benefits for some.

There is little doubt that part of the consternation of tobacco control groups and regulators simply arose from the fact that products are called e-cigarettes and using them resembles smoking. That reaction is emotional, not rational. Perhaps we can appreciate that it motivates tobacco controllers to investigate further. Rather than investigate and try to understand, however, the FDA initially stepped in and attempted to shut the industry down by banning the importation of e-cigarettes as unapproved medical devices. And electronic cigarette company, NJOY (previously Sottera), was targeted by the FDA and had imported products seized at the US border. NJOY fought the federal government, ultimately winning in court.

Big Government, Public Health, and E-Cigarettes, Part I

 

Since the US Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health in 1964, governments (local, state, federal) and tobacco control groups have waged a comprehensive campaign to encourage smokers to quit and discourage non-smokers from starting. They have used every tool available with cost being of little concern.

They’ve educated about the harms associated with smoking. When that didn’t do the trick, they attempted to shock and scare smokers away from the habit with graphic images. They’re in a half-century cycle to fight for increased taxes. They’ve banned smoking anywhere people congregate. They’ve filed individual lawsuits, class action lawsuits, and lawsuits from state attorneys general (resulting in the tobacco master settlement agreement that forced tobacco companies to pay billions to the states, all costs passed on to consumers via increased prices).

They’ve restricted the ability of companies to sell and market products, restricted use of brand-name advertising and eventually they decided scaring children might discourage them from becoming smokers. They also thought sending terrified kids home to shame their smoking parents could only benefit their cause.

The FDA’s Slow Motion Ban of E-Cigarettes

 

shutterstock_237371161Last year at my blog Overlawyered I wrote about one of the rare instances in which a widely watched health indicator was headed rapidly in a favorable direction:

Actual cigarette smoking among teens, the kind that requires inhaling carcinogenic products of combustion, is down a startling 25 percent in one year and nearly 42 percent since 2011. The reason is the rapid substitution of vaping or e-cigarettes, which hold singular promise as a harm-reduction measure for those drawn to the nicotine habit. Great news, right?

Well, not great news if you’re the present leadership of the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whose director Thomas Frieden has railed against vaping, or the federal Food and Drug Administration, which has now published regulations likely to wipe out most or all of the vaping option in what Jacob Sullum describes as a “slow-motion ban.”

The FDA’s Looming Regulatory Onslaught Threatens the Freedom to Vape

 

shutterstock_299809835Americans who are trying to kick their nasty smoking habit have found healthier alternatives in e-cigarettes and vapor products that could, quite literally, save their lives. But the bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration are trying to put this $3.5 billion industry out of business.

Small mom-and-pop shops have sprung up across the country to meet the growing demand for vapor products, which allow users to refill their vaporizers with their favorite e-juices. Separately, big tobacco companies have invested in non-refillable e-cigarettes.

Though these products are not always tobacco-free; there’s no ash or smoke involved. But they do contain nicotine, which users can gradually reduce if they choose. E-cigarettes and vapor products contain far fewer chemicals and carcinogens than traditional tobacco cigarettes, making them safer for the users, as well as those around them. “[T]he levels of potentially problematic substances in e-cigarette aerosol,” Reason’s Jacob Sullum wrote in March, “are about the same as those detected in ambient air.”

Vapor Madness!

 

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In the bad old days, Big Tobacco would have used all the means at its disposal to thwart a new technology that threatened to disrupt the market for inhalable nicotine. But instead of using its relationship with (and leverage over) regulators to throw obstacles into the path of its early-worm competitors, Big Tobacco has read the writing on the wall and begun to supply the demand for e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

One should expect a politically-connected colossus like R.J. Reynolds to arrive late to the e-cigarette game. But R.J. is downright nimble compared to a Ticonderoga-class bureaucracy like the California Department Of Public Health, which recently kicked-off a campaign to confuse low-information consumers (principally Millenials, liberals, and the poor). A website promoted by the state is called, tellingly, StillBlowingSmoke.org.