FDA announces strong support for e-cigarettes to reduce smoking harm

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 28 July, 2017

Scott Gottlieb 2.jpgThe new director of the United States FDA, Dr Scott Gottlieb, announced today strong support for e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction, reversing the draconian approach of the previous administration.

The decision has important implications for Australian policy, which is currently being reviewed by parliamentary inquiries.

Dr Gottlieb recognises that most smokers struggle to quit and that less harmful alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes can help

‘Envisioning a world where ... adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts'

Nicotine is not the problem, but could be part of the solution:

'the nicotine in cigarettes is not directly responsible for the cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year'

Nicotine is responsible for the addiction but it’s the other chemical compounds in tobacco, and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire, that directly and primarily cause the illness and death.

E-cigarettes are valuable alternative to cigarettes for smokers who are unable to quit as they provide the nicotine smokers need, but with dramatically less chemicals and risk to health.

A range of other proposals included in the new plan are

  • Developing product standards for e-cigarettes
  • Reducing the nicotine content of tobacco cigarettes to make them less addictive
  • Protecting children from e-cigarettes and reviewing the role of flavours which may appeal to children
  • Delaying deadlines for manufacturers to submit applications


Dr Gottlieb's speech

Video of speech (30m)

FDA media release

Clive Bates commentary: Huge FDA announcement on future tobacco and nicotine strategy

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