It is no longer uncommon to see a person that is puffing on a tube that has a blue LED glowing on one end. Suddenly, it has become perfectly acceptable to smoke indoors again. Electronic cigarettes have revolutionized the way people get their nicotine. Today, there is a better way to smoke without the fear of getting the nasty chemicals that a smoker gets from a tobacco. Yet, there are people wanting to regulate electronic cigarettes because it is so new nothing is much known about it. The US Food and Drug Administration are supposed to come up with new regulations. They delayed it until the end of the year lest they make some mistakes. Why do we need regulations? Let’s try to find out.
What is the importance?
There are no long-term studies about electronic cigarettes. That is why people are cautious about the situation. Latest studies show that electronic cigarettes cause no direct health implications. In fact, a small Italian study showed that vapes pose no short-term damage to the body. French and British experts believe that electronic cigarettes can be a game-changer and be able to save millions of lives literally. This is the reason why the FDA needs to balance the needs and also the potential long-term effects of vapes. When the US Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, electronic cigarettes were not considered. It would be unfair to bunch vapes in the same category as tobacco. For one, electronic cigarettes have no tobacco and secondly unlike tobacco it can help you get rid of the habit.
The fact that electronic cigarette have shown the ability to help people quit is already worth some consideration. That is why regulation such as the standardization of the liquids, the manufacturing process and even the marketing could prove beneficial. Again, the FDA should strike a delicate balance not to kill the industry. Regulation should be for the further benefit and improvement of the industry to make it a viable tool for smokers to help them quit their nasty habit.
The FDA may also open doors for research for safer alternatives to electronic cigarettes, if that is possible. It is important that the regulation, which has all the good intentions written all over it, should never deny vapes the opportunity to save lives.
That is why there is a fork on the road. FDA needs to regulate at the same time steer clear from stifling the innovation that vape manufacturers have been known for. In fact, in just 10 short years the technology that surrounds vapes has improved. It is not far-fetched that someday the health risks that people are afraid of will be just a distant memory.
Why oversight is a double-edge sword?
Oversight may mean extra cost and it can be fatal especially for small players in the vaping industry. Big Tobacco players like Altria, Reynolds and Lorillard are helping the FDA to formulate regulations so that it would not create a huge impact on the profitability and ability to innovate. The FDA should not resort to Band-aid solutions to the problems, some experts say. This does not reflect the true sense of having a product that can potentially save millions of lives. It can also prevent other innovative products to emerge that can have a significant role in nicotine-addiction alleviation or to reduce harm.
We have to admit that the FDA is in a precarious situation. But it can no longer afford to be fence sitting. It needs to make a call as soon as it can. The whole world is looking at the FDA and there is a chance that everyone will be following suit. This would drastically change the way the game is being played.
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