During an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), Brian King, said the FDA is well on its way in setting a foundation for substantial reductions in combustible tobacco smoking with the product standards such as a menthol ban and flavor bans for e-cigarettes and cigars.
When asked about several surveys that have shown many adults think e-cigarettes are as dangerous as traditional cigarettes, King said he was fully aware of the misperceptions surrounding vaping products those misperceptions aren’t consistent with the known science.
“We do know that e-cigarettes — as a general class — have markedly less risk than a combustible cigarette product,” King said. “That said, I think it’s very critical that we inform any communication campaigns using science and evidence. It has to be very carefully thought out to ensure that we’re maximizing impact and avoiding unintended consequences.”
King also said he believes “there’s a lot of really important science and innovations” that have occurred in the vaping industry in recent years, adding that the most notable is nicotine salts in e-liquids.
“We know that when you smoke a tobacco product, it’s a very efficient way to deliver nicotine across the blood-brain barrier. So it’s been very difficult to rival that efficiency in another product,” said King. “But in the case of nicotine salts you have the potential to more efficiently deliver nicotine which could hold some public health promise in terms of giving smokers enough nicotine that they would transition completely.
“But you also have to consider the opposite side of the coin, which is the inherent risks of initiation among youth. So I do worry about that … there’s a lot happening and I think that it could be promise or peril. But I think it’s important that the science drives that.”