The FDA have had a real tussle with the concept of e-cigarettes in recent months. Since the new TPD laws hit the tobacco industry hard last May, the e-cigarette phenomenon has been at risk of losing momentum. Luckily, many of the laws concerning tobacco and the related products which have come into effect can be adapted to without damage to the e-cigarette market. Since further research into the effects of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco, the FDA have changed their stance once again, putting a more positive spin on the role which e-cigarettes and vape liquid can play in curbing nicotine addiction.
Who are the FDA?
The FDA is the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America and originated in the early 20th century after Theodore Roosevelt signed the 1906 Wiley Act. This act prohibited the selling of goods which could be damaging to health or were of inferior quality. This was the beginning of a trend in which more regulation and control would occur in recording who was selling what within the country. A long few decades of product regulation led to the eventual 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which created even more stringent control of potentially dangerous substances. These laws would continue to tighten their grip on harmful substances until the creation of the FDA group who have been made up of government and medical advisors and researchers. The last law passed by the FDA was the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act in 2012 which allowed the government to collect user fees from the medical industry so as to invest in further medical and pharmaceutical research.
What was their stance?
Last year the FDA had a very different stance to the one they have today. After conducting surveys on US subjects between 2013 and 2015, they found that 3 million high and middle school students smoked hookah and e cigarettes. This led to the first law which prohibited retailers selling vapes to under 18s and meant that retailers couldn’t miss-sell tobacco and tobacco related products. It was set up to try and curb nicotine addiction in younger ages, one thing which the FDA were worried about in the surge in e-cigarette selling.
What is their new stance?
This year however, the FDA have changed their stance on how they view e-cigarettes and have finally accepted that vaping can help to curb tobacco addiction and use. The fact that there are less harmful substances within vaping and that it is becoming a far more popular substitute means that the FDA, who have cut back on nicotine levels in tobacco, are allowing vapes to have an extension on applications for product approval. The FDA have said they are “committed to encouraging innovations that have the potential to make a notable public health difference". This means that vaping has been approved as an alternative for the time being as stricter laws on tobacco products are enforced. This means the agency has time to explore alternative methods of nicotine curbing.
Although this may mean a hold off from preying on vaping laws, it still means that they are finding ways to curb known dangers of vaping such as exploding batteries and over consumption of nicotine. The maximum of nicotine in a vape is still 20 mg and refill tanks are still curbed at 10 ml. Child proof bottles have also been introduced.
However, this is still an acknowledgement of the fact that vaping is a great way to fight against nicotine addiction, and the FDA prolonging applications means that they are working to find ways that e-cigarettes and vape juice could work in their favour.