Two respected US health experts have asked why it should be that the most toxic consumer products on the market – combustible cigarettes – have to do absolutely nothing to stay on the market, while a burdensome and prohibitively expensive applications system is being proposed for much safer, tobacco-free electronic cigarettes.
In a blog published in The Hill, Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, and Scott Ballin, a health policy consultant and former vice president and legislative counsel for the American Heart Association, point out that when the US Tobacco Control Act was enacted in 2009, it established a predicate date of February 15, 2007, for products subject to the Act: namely, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. ‘While any new brands introduced to the market would have to file complex and burdensome applications with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pre-approval, all existing cigarette brands – which includes every cigarette currently on the market – were given a free ride,’ they say. ‘This means that every cigarette brand on the market is allowed to continue being sold, without any changes in nicotine content, without eliminating menthol – which is known to appeal to youth – and without lowering the levels of any of the more than 60 known carcinogens in these products.
‘Therefore, it may come as a surprise to many to find out that despite the lack of any safety regulations for deadly cigarettes, the FDA has sent for executive branch approval a set of regulations for electronic cigarettes – devices that contain no tobacco, involve no combustion, and have been shown to be orders of magnitude safer than cigarettes – that require every electronic cigarette product to submit burdensome, expensive, and technically near-impossible applications just to stay on the market.
‘The FDA has apparently decided that electronic cigarettes pose a much greater threat to the health of the public than the extremely toxic tobacco cigarettes that are killing more than 400,000 Americans each year.’