Time to stub out misguided e-cigarette regulation

Achieving appropriate regulations for electronic cigarettes

From Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease

Smokers are increasingly turning to electronic cigarettes as a means to reduce the health impacts of their addiction. But legislators around the world are far from unified in their approaches to regulating e-cigarettes. Misguided legislation based on concerns that are not backed by sound data may have unintended consequences for public health, experts, say in this study. With smoking behind almost six million premature deaths each year, a lot is at stake in the current round of regulation changes.

This article offers details and critique of current legislation, “Achieving appropriate regulations for electronic cigarettes,” by communication, legal and public health experts. Tar, chemicals, and other substances found in tobacco smoke cause most of the health risks from cigarettes, rather than the nicotine. E-cigarettes aim to circumvent these risks by delivering nicotine without the smoke. Yet despite users seeing the clear benefit from e-cigarettes, members of the health community, the pharmaceutical regulators and governments have voiced concerns.



A growing body of scientific studies show that e-cigarettes may serve as an acceptable substitute for smoking tobacco cigarettes, thereby reducing or eliminating exposure to harmful elements in smoke. The success of e-cigarettes is such that sales of these products are rapidly gaining on traditional cigarettes. The rapidly evolving phenomenon is raising concerns for the health community, pharmaceutical industry, health regulators and state governments. Obviously, these products need to be adequately regulated, primarily to protect users. Depending on the form and intended scope, certain regulatory decisions may have diverse unintended consequences on public health and may face many different challenges. Ideally, before any regulations are enacted, the regulatory body will require sufficient scientific research to verify that a problem does exist, quantify the problem, explore all potential solutions including making no change at all, determine the possible consequences of each, and then select the solution that is best for public health. Here we present an overview on the existing and deeming regulatory decisions for electronic cigarettes. We challenge them, based on the mounting scientific evidence with the ultimate goal of proposing appropriate recommendations while minimizing potential unintended consequences of ill-informed regulation.


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Article details
Daniela Saitta, Giancarlo Antonio Ferro, and Riccardo Polosa
Achieving appropriate regulations for electronic cigarettes
Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease March 2014 5: 50-61, first published on February 3, 2014 doi:10.1177/2040622314521271




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