An "E-asier" Way to Quit Smoking, Maybe
There are many ways to kick the smoking habit. Some try the patch. Some try gum. Some try hypnosis. Some just try to cut it out all together with no help at all.
For those who are trying to quit and need a little something, they might lean towards a product called "e-cigarettes."
Previous to this week, the little tubes that look like regular cigarettes, but convert liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor that simulates the taste of tobacco, weren't available.
Against the FDA's wishes, a Federal judge lifted an import band on the "e-cigarettes" that are from China. Unlike cigarettes, however, "e-cigarettes" contain virtually no cancer-causing carcinogens, according to their distributors.
Question around the interwebs has been why has the FDA been against the "e-cigarettes?"
Let's start with the judges ruling (from the New York Times):
"This case appears to be yet another example of F.D.A.'s aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices," Judge Leon wrote.
With the passage of landmark tobacco legislation last year, he added, the Food and Drug Administration's new tobacco division will be able to regulate the contents and marketing claims of e-cigarettes in the same way it is about to begin regulating traditional tobacco products. But the agency's drug division cannot ban the devices, the judge ruled.
From the FDA side, via a statement: "The public health issues surrounding electronic cigarettes are of serious concern to the F.D.A. The agency is reviewing Judge Leon's opinion and will decide the appropriate action to take."
Of course, the the FDA is playing the safety concern card. However, if claims that these devices really do stimulate smoking without any of the bad stuff, the question is why hasn't the FDA studied the devices since their availability? If the FDA finds that they're safe, they might possibly prevent cancer in millions of Americans.
While the jury is still out as to whether or not these "e-cigarettes" deliver on their promise or potential, it appears that those trying to quit will have another option to try.