Local consumer groups laud new U.S. FDA policy supporting e-cigarettes

Local consumer groups laud new U.S. FDA policy supporting e-cigarettes

 

Vapers in the Philippines hailed a recent policy paper from the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration stating that nicotine, although not totally risk free, is not directly responsible for fatal lung and hearts diseases.

In a recently published Strategic Policy Roadmap, the US FDA said “it is the other chemical compounds in tobacco, and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire, that directly and primarily cause the illness and death – not the nicotine.  As FDA moves forward with its comprehensive new approach, the Agency must also take a fresh look at products that can delivery satisfying levels of nicotine to adults who want access to it without burning tobacco.”

Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes is increasingly getting popular in the Philippines. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through liquid heated in a device that releases vapor or aerosol. Unlike smoking, there is no burning of tobacco and no smoke released.

“By following the evidence and adopting this new policy direction, the U.S. FDA joins the growing number of governments that are adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products, particularly e-cigarettes, as part of their national tobacco control program,” said Tom Pinlac, President of The Vapers Philippines.

 “Kudos to the U.S. FDA for keeping an open mind and objectively considering the scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes are a less harmful alternative to tobacco and a viable smoking cessation tool,” said Edward Gatchalian, President of the Philippine E-liquids Manufacturers Association (PEMA) and HS Liquids Inc.

Adds Gatchalian, “Nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes that makes people hooked to smoking, but it is the toxic gases in cigarette tar that kills smokers. ANDS, which include electronic cigarettes, are new technologies designed to slowly curb nicotine dependency without the tar and other harmful substances contained in cigarette smoke. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes has absolute zero tar and and doesn’t produce first and second hand smoke. Its purely water vapor and woody, fruity or pastry scent.”

Recognizing value of e-cigarettes

Released in January 2018, “Healthy Innovation, Safer Families: FDA’s 2018 Strategic Policy Roadmap” conceded that nicotine, “while not an entirely benign substance, is not directly responsible for the cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. It is the other chemical compounds in tobacco, and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire, that directly and primarily cause the illness and death – not the nicotine.” In line with its comprehensive new approach, the FDA expressed its commitment to “take a fresh look at products that can deliver satisfying levels of nicotine to adults who want access to it without burning tobacco.”

In its latest policy statement, the FDA underscored the importance of appropriate regulation in harnessing the potential of new technology and product innovation, including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes, to enable smokers to quit combustible tobacco and avoid relapse. “Our plan takes new steps to foster innovation in nicotine delivery, where such innovation could truly make a positive public health impact. It also makes sure that FDA has the foundational regulations to put products such as electronic cigarettes through an appropriate series of regulatory checkpoints.”

The FDA revealed its plan in 2018 to roll out a series of rulemakings and guidances starting the process of implementing a framework that will put nicotine at the center of the agency’s regulatory efforts. With the agency already taking steps to consider how to regulate nicotine levels in cigarettes, the FDA looks forward to the time when combustible cigarettes are far less addictive. When this time comes, the FDA expects more opportunities “to take steps to establish the foundational elements of a robust, science-based, and sustainable policy structure for properly regulating the non-combustible forms of nicotine delivery, including ENDS.”

Appropriate regulation

The FDA is keen to achieve a properly regulated market that would make ENDS products such as e-cigarettes available to adults who want to enjoy satisfying levels of nicotine through routes without all of the same risks posed by combusting tobacco. It is also taking new steps to make sure such products are not available to children. These include new public service campaigns to educate children about the harms associated with tobacco use, new actions to target the marketing of tobacco products to kids, and additional partnerships with sister agencies to enhance the impact of the FDA’s enforcement efforts.

The U.S. FDA Strategic Policy Roadmap identified four priorities for 2018: reduce the burden of addiction crises that are threatening American families; leverage innovation and competition to improve healthcare, broaden access, and advance public health goals; empower consumers to make better and more informed decisions about their diets and health, and expand the opportunities to use nutrition to reduce morbidity and mortality from disease; and strengthen FDA’s scientific workforce and its tools for efficient risk management.

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