U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff announced the agency’s intention to proceed “full steam ahead” on regulations intended to reduce e-cigarette use.
Ostroff says FDA intends to enact a “deeming rule” expanding the agency’s regulation of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco.
California Polytechnic State University professor of economics Michael L. Marlow says this is a bad idea because e-cigarettes are a useful tool for reducing health damage and helping smokers kick the habit.
“If e-cigarettes help smokers reduce consumption of more harmful tobacco or maybe even allow them to quit cigarettes, even if e-cigarettes themselves are somewhat harmful, it still would be an overall reduction of harm,” Marlow said. “If you just ignore that theory, and the FDA certainly has, an economist would say it [still] doesn’t make much sense.”
Marlow says e-cigarettes are a positively disruptive invention some special-interest groups want to suppress.