Pivotal Moment! Top Legal Representative In Iowa Slams Potential FDA Flavor Ban
AG Tom Miller is once again making the strong case that the FDA needs to rethink their deeming rule and the associated PMTA
As vaping has become more popular, the community faces a growing number of battles over the continued efficacy of their favorite harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. From excessive taxes to outright bans, vapers are always on the lookout for the newest incursion on their rights. One of the more popular complaints is over the vast variety of e-liquid flavors available, many of which are supposedly aimed directly at children. Vapers have rebuked these claims, saying that the range of options, especially sweet and savory ones, were integral to their success at quitting smoking.
The FDA has been one of the leaders of this crusade against e-liquid flavors, with Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announcing a probe into a potential ban on all e-liquid flavors except for traditional tobacco and menthol. In fact, their 120-day public comment period just expired earlier this week, but not before Attorney General for Iowa, Tom Miller, got one more scathing review of the proposed policy. In a strongly worded open letter to the FDA, AG Miller explains several reasons why their flavor ban is a terrible idea.
Earlier this year, AG Tom Miller sent a similar letter to the FDA regarding their potential flavor ban and why it’ll do much more harm than good. The team who worked with Miller on that letter, including the former director of Action on Smoking and Health, Clive Bates, Dr. David Sweanor, and Dr. David Abrams, also worked on this latest plead to the FDA regarding e-juice. The biggest problem that Miller and his group have with the way the FDA is handling vaping regulation is precisely how it’ll play out in the long run. According to their research, the Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTAs), and their associated costs are simply too excessive and harsh for the relatively small and new vaping companies. These regulations and fees were designed for humongous Big Tobacco conglomerates that have been making billions of dollars every year for decades.
According to Miller, “Excessive regulation of much safer alternatives should not be allowed to create de facto regulatory protection for the most harmful products.” Similarly, the insistence of the FDA that they treat all “tobacco products” the same is only causing more trouble than it prevents:
Information on risk provided by trusted agencies must change. The emphasis on there being ‘no safe’ or ‘harmless’ tobacco product, when given in isolation, under-informs consumers and can mislead them to think that non-combustible products are just as dangerous as cigarettes. FDA’s modeling assumes a substantial risk reduction when smokers switch to e-cigarettes, and it is important to share this insight with the public. This will prepare the ground for a nicotine standard by encouraging switching to non-combustibles both before and after the rule coming into effect.
They hope that by calling out the flawed logic of the FDA, it will help facilitate a path forward in which the federal health agency can work with independent researchers as well as the public to nail down precisely what value e-cigarettes provide to society, and how best to utilize it.
The Myth Of Youth Risk
For many of those in favor of a wide-spread and harsh flavor ban, the concern is with teens and how acceptance of vaping for any reason will affect them. While it’s important to protect people too young to understand the consequences of their actions, it’s equally important to ensure that the information our health agencies are using to determine their vocal stance isn’t purely anecdotal. But that seems to be precisely what’s happening in this case, as plenty of peer-reviewed research indicates an increased acceptance of vaping isn’t attracting non-smoking teens to the habit. In fact, a study of over 60,000 teens published last year by England’s federal health agency, PHE, found that at the very most, only 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever pick up smoking regularly.
It’s gotten so bad, that whenever you see an anti-vaping study reference research that shows a connection between vaping and teens starting to smoke, you can bet that the study was small-scale and of questionable design. These flawed pieces of research only increase the value and need for long-term and large-scale investigations into the effects of vaping on society. These studies all seem to agree that the overwhelming majority of teens who vape on a regular basis were already smokers before ever picking up a vape. With that being the case, it seems that teenage vapers are merely using the harm reduction and smoking cessation devices for the same reasons as most adult smokers.
The thought of anything leading your child down the path to a lifetime of cigarette smoking is scary for any parent. So it’s no wonder why this is such a commonly referenced concern in regards to vaping. Especially from an outsider’s perspective, it seems like many of these manufacturers are marketing toward kids with flavors based on cakes and candy. But the truth is that while kids do enjoy these treats, adults enjoy them just as much as any child.
We all agree that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your long-term health, so why are so many politicians actively working to stop what’s been proven to be the most effective smoking cessation currently available? What’s worse, if flavor bans pass, many vapers who prefer these flavors will be at a much-increased risk of reverting back to cigarette smoking. That’s why it should be apparent to anyone paying attention that the key to ending the fight with tobacco is widespread acceptance and utilization of vaping products for their harm reduction and smoking cessation value.
In your opinion, should e-liquid flavors be targeted for regulation like they are? What are other possible reasons the FDA has to attempt to ban e-liquid flavors? How can we help spread information that proves the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.