Switching from smoking to vaping undoubtedly reduces the risk of contracting deadly and debilitating diseases, according to the head of the Food Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products.
In an interview with Vox, Mitch Zeller conceded e-cigarettes are far less hazardous than tobacco cigarettes, but refused to endorse the 95 percent safety figure accepted by bodies such as Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians.
Zeller emphasized the importance of keeping e-cigarettes out of the minors. “Young people’s lungs shouldn’t be exposed to the aerosol and vapor that contains nicotine. But, there is a continuum of risk — there are more harmful ways to deliver nicotine and less harmful ways to deliver nicotine.”
He added that combustible cigarettes were by far the most deadly product regulated by the FDA, with smokers inhaling the residue of 7,000 chemicals.
“We have to ask ourselves some tough questions when it comes to dealing with the leading cause of preventable death, which is disproportionately cigarette use. What if we can safely transition currently addicted nicotine users to safer forms of nicotine delivery?” said Zeller.
“If I were a pack-a-day smoker who was unable or unwilling to quit, and I substituted my cigarettes for e-cigarettes, there’s no question I’d be significantly reducing my risk. But as a regulatory agency, we have to make decisions at the population level.”
The FDA has been embroiled in controversy after releasing the long awaited “deeming regulations” for e-cigarettes May 5. (RELATED: Experts Savage FDA’s Most Recent Claim That Killing 99% Of An Industry Spurs ‘Innovation’)
The part that most concerns the e-cigarette industry is the so-called “predicate date” of Feb. 17, 2007. All vapor products that came on the market after this date, which is almost all of them, will have to go through the Pre-Market Tobacco Application process (PMTA).
PMTA’s can cost millions of dollars per product and around 1,700 hours of paperwork. Industry experts and the FDA’s own analysis from 2014 estimates 99 percent of products on the market won’t even be put through this process and will be taken off the market within two years.
“Rather than pursue a responsible regulatory structure for e-cigarette and vapor products, like the European Union (EU) has with its adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the FDA has taken the opposite path, issuing rules which will kill the e-cigarette category,” said Ray Story, head of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA), in a press release.
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