FDA opens door to endorsing e-cigarettes

The makers of electronic cigarettes were gratified Friday when the Food and Drug Administration delayed regulations that would have taken many of their products off the market.

David Sims | Aug 03, 2017

   

The makers of electronic cigarettes were gratified Friday when the Food and Drug Administration delayed regulations that would have taken many of their products off the market.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the reprieve was part of a plan of decrease deaths from cigarette smoking, a report by The New York Times said. One part of the plan will include persuading cigarette manufacturers to make their products less addictive by reducing levels of nicotine.

While Gottlieb admitted he was worried about use of e-cigarettes by children and would think about regulating flavors designed to appeal to them, he also noted the potential benefits for people trying to quit smoking.

"We do think there's a potential opportunity for e-cigarettes to be a lower-risk alternative to smokers who want to quit combustible cigarettes," Gottlieb said. "We still have to figure out if they are a way to get people off combustible cigarettes."

Although nicotine is the substance is cigarettes that causes addiction, it is the other chemical compounds in tobacco smoke, such as tar, that are dangerous to the health.

"I'm hopeful that people who follow this issue closely and might have a particular point of view are going to recognize what we are trying to do, to have a significant public health impact," Gottlieb said."I wouldn't say we are encouraging people to use e-cigarettes, but certainly we'd like to see smokers use F.D.A.-approved cessation packages like gums and patches."

Shares of cigarette manufacturer stocks fell about 19 percent Friday before partly recovering.

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