FDA Approves Tobacco-Flavored E-Cigarettes Despite Criticism

FDA Approves Tobacco-Flavored E-Cigarettes Despite Criticism
FDA approves tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products from Logic Technology Development LLC, sparking controversy among public health advocates.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved several tobacco-flavored electronic cigarette products from Logic Technology Development LLC, as announced on Thursday. The FDA also stated that it is "closer" to making additional decisions regarding products that hold a larger market share.


Public health advocates are feeling frustrated as the agency has exceeded the September deadline set by a Maryland US District Court to decide which electronic cigarette products can remain on the market.


Despite being allowed to be sold on the market for many years, in 2020, the FDA required these companies to submit applications to keep their e-cigarette products on the market.


The FDA announced on Thursday that Logic Technology's tobacco-flavored products may benefit adult smokers as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. The agency stated that if the company adheres to requirements to reduce young people's exposure and initiation of these products, the potential benefit outweighs the risk of young people starting to use them.


However, the agency has rejected some of Logic's other e-cigarette products and has yet to make a decision on others, including some products containing menthol.


The information submitted by the company to the FDA reveals that these products assist adult smokers in transitioning from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, which may reduce their exposure to harmful and potentially harmful toxins such as carbon monoxide.


A study submitted by Logic Technology to the FDA found that when most people who smoke traditional cigarettes switch to e-cigarettes, their cigarette consumption decreases by 80%, dropping from an average of 13 to 16 cigarettes per day to one or two after about two months of making the switch.


However, another study published this year found that using e-cigarettes does not increase a person's chance of quitting smoking or prevent relapse. It was also found to be less effective than nicotine gum and other replacement therapies. Other research suggests that young people are unlikely to start using tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Most children start with candy, fruit, and mint flavors.


The agency stated that FDA authorization on Thursday does not imply that these products are safe and they are not "FDA approved.


According to a press release from the FDA, all tobacco products are harmful and have the potential to lead to addiction. Individuals who do not use tobacco products should not start.


The most important decision awaits


According to the pre-market tobacco product application pathway, all e-cigarette manufacturers must demonstrate that their product marketing is suitable for protecting public health. When the FDA makes decisions about e-cigarette products, it must consider the risks and benefits to the entire population, not just the users of these products.


The FDA has announced that it has taken action on 99% of nearly 6.7 million e-cigarette products that were submitted for pre-market authorization. The agency has refused to authorize over one million products.


If a product is denied authorization, the company must immediately remove it from the market.


In October, the FDA approved several tobacco-flavored products manufactured by RJ Reynolds.


According to a 2020 survey conducted by Statista, Logic Technology Development holds only 8% of the market share. The FDA has not yet made a ruling on the products of market leader Juul Labs.


I am glad they have limited the ruling to only allow tobacco-flavored products," said Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, who has been working to pass more regulations on e-cigarette products.


When he heard the announcement from the FDA on Thursday, he said he needed to do some research on the company because it is a small business.


Unfortunately, we have become like addicted babies to an increasing amount of these products every day, taking another infantile step.


Matt Myers, president of the Smoke-Free Kids advocacy group, stated that the latest measures are not enough.


Miles stated, "Today's decision to authorize the use of tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes for adults or adolescents who do not widely use them does not establish any new precedents. The most important decision still lies ahead for the FDA.


Despite the FDA's claim to have addressed almost all of the products that came before it, Miles stated that these products only account for approximately 25% to 30% of the market.


Myles stated that his organization has submitted a petition to the court, requesting intervention as six months have passed since the deadline, yet no ruling has been made.


Krishnamoorthi stated that he has been inquiring about updates on the status from the FDA, but the agency has been unresponsive.


Still existing: Menthol and disposable products.


One unresolved question concerns a product made with menthol, which is still under review.


The FDA announced in January that it is expected to make a decision on menthol products this year.


According to data from the FDA, the smoking rate among adults has decreased from 42% to 14% over the past 55 years. However, it is estimated that there are currently nearly 18.6 million menthol cigarette smokers in the United States. Almost 85% of non-Hispanic black smokers choose menthol cigarettes.


According to research, the use of menthol increases the appeal of tobacco products among both adult and new/long-term smokers. Menthol cigarettes are also believed to be more likely to cause addiction. One study estimates that if menthol were banned in cigarettes and cigars, it could prevent 650,000 premature tobacco-related deaths.


When the FDA banned the sale of fruit-flavored e-cigarette cartridges for children, they had not yet taken action against another group of products known as disposable items, which are popular among children.


Disposable products were previously not regulated by the FDA because they use nicotine from laboratory-manufactured products rather than tobacco. Krishnamoorthi helped develop bipartisan legislation to address this loophole, which was signed into law as part of a comprehensive bill by President Biden last week.


There is still a long way to go in terms of regulating these products.


Erika Sward, assistant vice president in charge of national promotion for the American Lung Association, expressed concern over the lack of FDA action on other products commonly used by many individuals. She stated, "It is unsettling to think that all of these other products that are used by so many people are still awaiting FDA action. Perhaps the FDA has already made all the significant and easy decisions, but they have left the ones that have the greatest impact on public health on their to-do list.


Swode stated that the Lung Association "breathed a sigh of relief" because the FDA rejected additional flavored products in their decision on Thursday.


However, we are disappointed that the FDA appears to be chasing windmills by continuing to search for products that maintain addiction to tobacco," Sword said.


Inhaling e-cigarette products into the lungs is also dangerous and due to the relative novelty of these products, their potential long-term consequences are not yet fully understood.


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Even more alarming is that from a public health perspective, it is the FDA's responsibility," said Swort. "So far, it seems we are willing to sacrifice a generation of children to use these products, but we still have not done what we need to do to help current smokers.


Sword said that rather than encouraging adults to switch to e-cigarettes, it is better to talk to their doctors and use one of the seven safe and effective smoking cessation drugs approved by the FDA. Studies have shown that people who use counseling or FDA-approved products have a much higher success rate in quitting smoking than those who try to quit cold turkey (referring to the sudden cessation of substance dependence and the unpleasant experience that comes with it).


(Source: CNN)


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