FDA and Juul E-Cig Regs Should Keep Anti-Smoking Zealots at Bay

This week FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced a plan to close the on-ramp to kids using e-cigarettes while preserving adult use of “potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery.” The plan's centerpiece curbs the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, which regulators claim entice youth (logic that apparently doesn't extend to Absolut Peach vodka or Jack Daniel's cinnamon whiskey), but which also help smokers quit because they don't remind them of traditional cigarettes.
 
The problem is that anti-smoking zealots want to go further and remove e-cigarettes from the market altogether while leaving most tobacco products untouched. That would snuff out the most impactful public health development in decades. The FDA’s action is designed to reduce e-cigarette use among high school and middle school students “because there is also evidence that a large percentage of these children will become addicted to nicotine and ultimately take up smoking." Yet plummeting and all-time low smoking rates – especially among young adults – would suggest otherwise. In contrast, the FDA recognizes that use of e-cigarettes can help adults stop smoking.
 
Days before the FDA's announcement, e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, which commands about 75 percent of the e-cigarette market share, self-imposed regulations to curb teen use of its products. Juul's "Youth Prevention Plan" will eliminate pod flavors, such as cucumber and mango, from the 90,000 or so retail outlets across the country.
 
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