FDA funds and approves cigarettes – InsideSources

With the way the news moves these days, it’s easy to miss the drama unfolding in the world of tobacco. During that year, the Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to reduce the nicotine content of all cigarettes, outright ban all menthol cigarettes, and denied a request by JUUL to sell its products, just for turn around and suspend that ban as the company appealed the decision. However, all of this is overshadowed by the fact that US health agencies funded research trials for two very low nicotine (VLN) cigarette products – one of which is a menthol – which were later given the FDA approval as reduced risk products. .

It is amazing that the FDA and other agencies have spent 100 million US taxpayer dollars to develop evidence on the safety and efficacy of combustible cigarettes. Worse, these agencies then used this insufficient evidence to justify their approval as low-risk products, imposing labels with the marketing claim “Helps you smoke less” on cigarette packages.

This is the wrong way to achieve a smoke-free USA.

But the FDA doesn’t seem concerned. Instead, it seems to be shrouded in wishful thinking that individuals will quit smoking after using VLN cigarettes because the reduced nicotine will lessen their addiction. In fact, NLVs are likely to exacerbate misperceptions of risk among consumers. Nicotine isn’t the biggest problem; it is the burning of tobacco that is most harmful to health. In other words, the FDA approves the combustible cigarettes it helped develop while rejecting over 99% of the vape products from the market that it did not.

Coupled with efforts to reduce the nicotine content of all cigarettes, this amounts to a full-scale ban, as most brands would be pulled from the market for non-compliance. But the FDA-approved VLN brands would remain. The type of political maneuvering and dealing indicates anti-competitive behavior, with the government trying to pick winners and losers.

History has shown us time and time again that prohibition never works – whether it’s for alcohol, opioids, or flavored vapes. Additionally, FDA-funded research to understand the acceptance of VLNs has shown that immediate reductions in nicotine lead to greater withdrawal symptoms and an increased likelihood that smokers will seek out alternative sources.

Since the release of the first commercially successful e-cigarettes, they have evolved and grown dramatically. In 2014, the British Medical Journal documented around 460 different brands of e-cigarettes that delivered nicotine without the harmful effects of smoking. Researchers have confirmed that e-cigarettes exist on a continuum of risk, comparing them to nicotine patches used to quit smoking. Because e-cigarettes mimic the rituals of smoking, they have proven to be handy quit smoking tools for adult smokers. Even the Centers for Disease Control states that “more frequent e-cigarette use is associated with greater smoking cessation than less frequent use.” A reasonable approach to reducing adult smoking would be to increase the availability of these products.

The FDA would do well to recognize this evidence to achieve a smoke-free United States. He could start by updating the national tobacco control strategy — the one that was released more than a decade ago that doesn’t even mention vaping. It is also expected to update the FDA’s comprehensive tobacco and nicotine regulatory plan. Created in 2017, it includes a hodgepodge of strategies to reduce youth use, address racial justice and eliminate smoking. Yet, like the National Tobacco Control Strategy, it does not consider e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking. The FDA could also learn a bit from the comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco control strategies of other countries like the UK or New Zealand, which have codified what a smoke-free society means for their populations.

It is important to remember that no tobacco product is safe. Those who smoke cigarettes are encouraged to use alternatives such as reduced-risk nicotine products (like e-cigarettes) as they have become essential in helping adult smokers move away from deadly fuels. Banning vapes while increasing the number of reduced-fuel nicotine cigarettes is as counterproductive as it is political. It’s not necessary.

About Margaret Shaw

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