By now most smokers in the developed world have heard of electronic cigarettes, if not most adult consumers in general. This innovation in smokeless “smoking” has even caught the attention of teens who find it at least as easy to procure disposable e cigs as cigarettes. The hype says e cigarettes are better than cigarettes and could save many lives, but what does the FDA think?
FDA regulators say they need more science. A few members of academe and the occasional celebrity say e cigs are great. They don’t smell, cost less than analogs, and can be vaped in the open where cigarettes have been banned. Ex-smokers provide anecdotal evidence of the benefits of switching.
These testimonials, however, do not amount to a body of research and study worthy of medical journals and serious discussion. That is what the FDA wants: serious, solid testimony with quantifiable reports indicating the benefits and possible detriments associated with vaping.
Members of the Food and Drug Administration are taking a balanced view as far as some media sources are concerned. They just want to know the facts, not nay-say something that could be wonderful for the cigarette-smoking world.
Some Negatives Already
While consumers do not yet know if there are cons to vaping, there have been reports indicating that e cigs are associated with calls to poison control which have increased substantially in recent years. Many were connected to e cigs and half of those calls had to do with children. Though details are not given, perhaps children drank nicotine eliquid.
It is up to parents to put e-liquid somewhere safe so that children are not tempted to drink it. A lot of the bad press circulated by anti e-cig campaigners has to do with nicotine juice. Nicotine is highly addictive. It is a drug that can hurt or even kill those who consume it.
How was the nicotine used to blend a bottle of eliquid grown? Was it exposed to chemicals? What other chemicals might eliquid manufacturers be using? What other chemicals may come out of the vapor? Scientists will be exploring the way nicotine becomes a part of eliquid and coming up with regulations about labeling or making blends.
Another worrying development is that teens are picking up e cigs in growing numbers. Sweet hookah-style pens are alluring, while some marketing campaigns emphasize how cool, trendy, and sexy vaping pens are.
Website tableaus of girls in tight dresses and even scantily clad models, whose purpose appears unrelated to the product, make it appear that vaping is attractive. They paint a fun picture while exposing teenagers to potential dangers. There are even fears that young people will eventually move from e cigs to cigarettes.
The Up Side
It must not be forgotten that vapers can and often do use e-liquids which contain zero nicotine. This is the beauty of vaping, they say: you can give up the drug without having to drop the habit. Besides, the risks of smoking are far greater than those associated with vaping; they have to be in the impassioned view of e cig proponents.
If you have ever listened to the labored breathing of a smoker then seen that same person six months later after switching to e cigs, your perspective is bound to be impacted. Families who have lost loved ones to lung cancer are eager for e cigs to gain FDA approval.
What will FDA Regulations Involve?
The FDA has opened discussion to the public which has more than two months to make opinions known for better or worse. Templates are in place to begin regulating these devices so they cannot be sold from vending machines. The age limit is to be 18 at a minimum, perhaps higher in some states.