Sunday, 12 September 2010

Banned from claiming that e-cigs are a stop-smoking aid

Authorities are trying to gain regulatory power over the sale of e-cigarettes. The Food & Drug Administration in the US has now informed e-cigarette companies that any claim that their products help people stop smoking are not legal since they are not scientifically verified:
The warning letters state that all five companies have run ads claiming that their products can be used to help quit smoking. The FDA has determined that the liquid in E-cigarettes is a drug and that the E-cigarettes themselves are drug-delivery devices, which the manufacturers dispute. The FDA says in its letters that it is illegal for the manufacturers to claim their drugs can be used as a smoking cessation treatment without FDA approval first. The agency says the companies have conducted no clinical trials or shown scientific evidence supporting their claims.
This kind of thing must make the public – especially those of the American public who have given up smoking using e-cigarettes – wonder about the purpose of anti-smoking legislation in the US. A few states have actually banned e-cigarettes from sale, citing safety concerns. There is no suggestion anywhere, however, that e-cigs prompt nearly as much concern for safety of users as cigarettes do, and one of their selling points is (unfortunately) that they don't give off secondary smoke.

Banning e-cigarettes, while leaving tobacco on open sale, borders on lunacy. Not only because it is illogical in terms of an anti-tobacco policy, but because it shows how clearly this has to do with controlling the market share in nicotine use and smoking cessation. Clinical trials have not demonstrated convincingly that approved smoking cessation medication effectively stops people smoking. Champix is tainted with well grounded safety concerns, documented by users, and is the subject of lawsuits. Tobacco too clearly raises concerns among policy makers, yet remains legal (rightly so). The only product to be threatened with restrictions is the e-cigarette.

Former smokers, who have turned to electronic cigarettes in New York, New Jersey and other states that have leapt on the e-cigarette banned-wagon have had their choices severely limited. Do they give go back to smoking? Or turn to quit products like nicotine replacement therapy? My guess is that they will realise that their product of choice has been taken off the market for spurious reasons, connected with Control, $$, anything in fact other than health, and regardless whether they go back to smoking tobacco their confidence in the authorities will be severely undermined.

Both formally and informally, data and information on e-cigarette use are still being collected.

Decisions about regulation have yet to be announced in the UK. This link considers the implications of regulating/banning e-cigarettes in the UK.


Kate said...

There is definitely a lot of anger from smokers who have swapped to vapour. It makes no logical sense to ban something before it's been found to be harmful when the alternative is claimed to be so very harmful by the folks who remove all the effective alternatives.

Recreational non-tobacco nicotine markets are shutting down worldwide and that can only lead to a pharmaceutical monopoly, developing the same problems as the illicit drug trade.

Belinda said...

any idea when the UK situation will be clarified, Kate?

Kate said...

We've been told 'September' for the consultation announcement.

I have a feeling that the UK authorities are going to wait for the outcome of the US case (starts 23rd Sept) to see what the judge says about classification. They won't want to rock any boats here and will want the ammunition if they do decide to ban recreational nicotine.

Eddie Douthwaite said...

I only use E-cigs when travelling on a bus or train to see the reaction from any Anti-Smoker, normal people just accept it.

I don't want to quit smoking, don't want any help to do so, and refuse to be denormalised by the Governments "hate" campaign.

Kate said...

That's the great thing about ecigs as a recreational product, Eddie - folks can mess around with them and enjoy. It's incidental that they're also reducing the amount they smoke in some cases. As a medical product it will be destroyed, no fun. And there's no need for that since authorities can already license anybody who wants to jump through the hoops. Unfortunately it's the claims of cessation that are giving ecigs the medical (anti-smoking) link.