It’s time for the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes
On August 8, The New York Times highlighted the prevalence of e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants throughout New York City. Those who view e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes are overlooking the important fact that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug. Because of this, it is important that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
Long before America understood the horrific effects of smoking cigarettes, the tobacco industry had led us down the garden path, appealing to kids and promising glamour, sophistication, thinness. We are observing that same successful playbook reprised under the banner of e-cigarettes. We are failing to acknowledge that nicotine—in any form—is a highly addictive drug, particularly harmful when used by young people, and that there is no evidence guaranteeing product safety.
While e-cigarettes might be less harmful replacements for cigarettes by some who are unable to stop smoking, that population is limited. The industry goal is profit and that means dual users and new customers with the primary target being young people. Profit from peddling nicotine to kids is no one’s gain. Let’s not follow the industry down this road again.