Why the Next FDA Chief Shouldn’t Block Alternatives to Cigarettes

The Daily Signal | 3/29/2019 | Staff
MysticHeartMysticHeart (Posted by) Level 3
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Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in agricultural policy. Read his research.

Will the federal government block solutions that may help cigarette smokers kick their habit?

Commissioner - Food - Drug - Administration - Scott

The next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who will be chosen to replace the soon-departing Scott Gottlieb, will have to answer that critical question.

In a 2017 announcement, the FDA welcomed tobacco harm reduction and innovative solutions to help people quit smoking. Tobacco harm reduction is the simple idea that there could be significant benefits when smokers switch to less-harmful means of getting their nicotine.

Products - E-cigarettes - Risk - Risk - Cigarettes

That doesn’t mean alternative products, such as e-cigarettes, have zero risk, but they do appear to have less risk than smoking cigarettes.

In the most comprehensive government report of its kind, Public Health England described e-cigarettes in 2015 as “95 percent less harmful that tobacco cigarettes.”

Study - January - E-cigarettes - Smokers - Smoking-cessation

Further, in a major study released in January, e-cigarettes were found to be about twice as effective in helping smokers quit as other smoking-cessation products, such as nicotine patches.

The FDA, however, hasn’t embraced these innovative alternatives to delivering nicotine. Instead, it has used concern over youth usage of e-cigarettes to create a narrative that demonizes these products and to push intrusive government intervention.

Example - FDA - Sale - E-cigarettes - Tobacco

For example, the FDA is trying to effectively ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes (excluding tobacco, mint, and menthol flavors) in convenience stores, gas stations, and other retailers.

The FDA’s draft proposal is not very specific, but as reported, it would require brick-and-mortar retailers selling such products to prevent minors from entering stores or have physically separate rooms to sell these age-restricted products.

Action - Concern - Flavors - Kids - Research

That action is allegedly designed to address concern over flavors appealing to kids. However, there’s strong research indicating that flavors are also extremely...
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