The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared war on cigarette addiction. Is there also a huge change for the e-cigarette?
Regulations so far
Under president Obama, the so-called “deeming regulation” concerning e-cigarettes was passed. This regulation has affected only traditional tobacco cigarettes so far and was extended to the e-cigarette market in 2016. It was intended to control sale and use of e-cigarettes and accessories more strictly till year 2018. But also obvious matters were decided: For example, like in Europe, the sale of e-cigarettes and nicotine-containing products was limited to people above the age of 18 only and warning labels became mandatory.
However, each manufacturer was forced to submit a “pre-market tobacco application” (PMTA), a governmental approval. This approval was very expensive and had to be submitted for every single product (i.e. every liquid, every taste and every nicotine strength). Advertisement, free samples and indications that vaping is less harmful than smoking should be prohibited, too.
Smaller entrepreneurs and manufacturers saw themselves in huge danger and, above all, the tobacco industry as the big winner. Many of them even suspect the complete end to the e-cigarette.
What about now?
So far, the major tobacco companies earned record profits. However, the tobacco industry suffered a collapse recently. For example, Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, lost 19 percent in just one day. How did this happen?
The new head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, wants to put an end to nicotine and smoking. In a new campaign, he declared that the highly addictive substance nicotine needed to be regulated more strictly. Gottlieb who is a physician explained in his speech that about half a million people in the USA would die from the sequels of cigarette addiction every year.
In fact, nicotine is a very addictive toxin and smoking causes harmful combustion products which are the main cause of health problems. Gottlieb plans to restrict nicotine in cigarettes. It is uncertain, however, whether lower nicotine content will actually result in less smoking. But more important is the fact that the danger from tobacco cigarettes is becoming more public and that more and more people are looking for alternatives.
Nicotine content in e-liquids is said not to be altered by the FDA in order to offer the customers the possibility of the less harmful e-cigarette. Unlike smoking, no substances are burned by the process of vaping because of lower temperatures. E-cigarettes would also be re-evaluated and tested without bias. The e-cigarette as a serious and important alternative is intended to minimise health damage.
This drastic change in health policy means a major breakthrough for e-cigarettes and a huge opportunity for millions of people to switch and no longer risk life and health.