Electronic Cigarettes

The Indifference Between The FDA and Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes entered the market in 2004. Building upon a 1960s patent for a tobacco-free cigarette, the electronic cigarette slowly grew into a fledgling niche market that had a variety of consumers looking for that perfect smoking alternative. After a while, pro-tobacco groups had gotten wind of the electronic cigarette. Baseless claims and accusations were shortly thereafter hurled at the industry ranking from toxicity levels to potential fire hazards.

Electronic Cigarettes

The FDA has, in the past, aimed to ban electronic but has so far decided not to. Naturally, while the FDA is right to worry about the claims that some electronic cigarette manufacturers produce products in unsanitary conditions or use potentially deadly chemicals, make no mistake. All electronic cigarettes are not made equal.

Of course, there is this prevailing theory among proponents of the electronic cigarette industry that claims that the FDA is really influenced by a few big players in the tobacco industry. While this certainly may be tempting for conspiracy theorists to throw their support, it’d be better to consider the realistic alternative. The FDA bases their claims of the dangers in using electronic cigarettes on factual evidence presented against tobacco cigarettes. So naturally, there’s an aura of skepticism at the FDA that leads the organization to consider this tobacco-free product just as dangerous as its counterpart. Suffice it to say, the FDA is an entity devoted to enforcing the law through factual evidence and accounts known to be true (despite oversights and inaccuracies).

Ideally, it’s a reasonable assessment to consider the FDA as cautious. Because of the still relatively new allure of electronic cigarettes, the organization can’t be compelled to rule one way or another. The multibillion dollar profits reaped by tobacco companies prompted a raised eyebrow or two, but with the niche market of electronic cigarettes, it’ll be years until the FDA takes a thorough look. That being said, it seems that the FDA is shifting their efforts from ruling on the efficacy of electronic cigarettes to targeting certain products that fail to match the standards found in most of the products found in the market. Despite the fact that electronic cigarettes are typically made under the strictest manufacturing protocols, some companies do in fact cut corners. In this regard, the FDA is right to label (at the same time, mislabel) some electronic cigarettes as toxic products. Case in point, the organization pursued five companies in the fall of 2010 for selling products below standards.

The problem therein lies with the indifference between the electronic cigarette industry and the FDA. Despite the fact that the industry knows of the FDA’s stance on electronic cigarettes, industry insiders and powerhouses have done very little to alleviate the situation. Similarly, the FDA has failed to consider the possibility of the claims made by proponents as true. More research and studies are needed to effectively decide on the electronic cigarette product’s fate. One thing is certain, however, if both these entities don’t reach an agreement soon it’ll become increasingly difficult for electronic cigarettes to have the protections in place to block potentially dangerous products entering the market. The tobacco industry has regulation, why not electronic cigaretteS?

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