FDA approved e-cigarettes in the first time. They cited benefits for smokers
Mark Stehle/AP Mark Stehle/Enlarge this image
WASHINGTON Health officials approved Tuesday the first electronic cigarettes in America. They said that R.J. Reynolds vaping products could benefit adult smokers.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, data from Vuse Electronic Cigarettes showed that they helped smokers quit smoking or reduce their use significantly. This is the leading cause of death in America.
Tuesday's decision was the first of its kind and is part of an extensive effort by FDA to scientifically examine the multibillion dollar vaping industry. This comes after years of delays.
The agency stated that it had declined applications for over a million ecigarettes and related products in September, mainly because of their potential appeal to minors. Regulators stayed on the fence about most major vaping companies, including Juul, which is market leader.
Vuse's Solo Power refillable device and tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges are not affected by the FDA's decision. Although the FDA stated that it had rejected 10 additional requests from Vuse for flavored products, it did not reveal details. The FDA is still reviewing the request of the company to sell a menthol-flavored nicotine formulation.
"Today's authorizations represent an important step towards ensuring that all new tobacco products undergo FDA's rigorous, scientific premarket assessment," stated Mitch Zeller (director of the FDA’s tobacco center), in a statement.
"The data from the manufacturer shows that its tobacco-flavored products can be used by addicted adult smokers to reduce their cigarette intake or completely."
E-cigarettes were first introduced in the U.S. over a decade ago. They are a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes and offer a healthier option. Inhaled nicotine is heated in the devices.
However, there is not enough evidence to prove that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit. The FDA's efforts to review vaping products were repeatedly thwarted by lobbying from the industry and competing political interests.
The vaping market has grown to include hundreds upon hundreds of companies that sell a variety of nicotine solutions and devices in different strengths and flavors. The majority of the market is controlled however by a handful of companies, including Juul Labs which is partly owned by Altria and Vuse.
Companies must prove that their products are good for public health in order to stay on the marketplace. This means that the products must be proven to have a positive impact on public health.