By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced its first authorization of an electronic cigarette.
“Today’s authorizations are an important step toward ensuring all new tobacco products undergo the FDA’s robust, scientific premarket evaluation. The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products – either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption – by reducing their exposure to harmful chemicals,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in an agency news release.
The FDA added it had denied the company permission to sell 10 flavored vaping products, but did not say what they were. The three authorized products are less likely to appeal to children and teens. While the products can now be sold in the United States, the FDA stressed they are neither safe nor “FDA- approved,” and that nonsmokers shouldn’t use them.
“We must remain vigilant with this authorization and we will monitor the marketing of the products, including whether the company fails to comply with any regulatory requirements or if credible evidence emerges of significant use by individuals who did not previously use a tobacco product, including youth,” Zeller added. “We will take action as appropriate, including withdrawing the authorization.”
But anti-smoking advocates were not convinced.
“While it is a positive step that FDA denied applications for 10 flavored Vuse e-cigarettes, it is concerning that a product that has three times the nicotine concentration as legally permitted in Canada, the UK and Europe was authorized. Vuse products with this level of nicotine leaves our nation’s youth at an undue risk of addiction,” Matthew Myers, president of The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.
The FDA acknowledged the issue of teen vaping in its statement.
“The FDA is aware that the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) found approximately 10 percent of high school students who currently used e-cigarettes named Vuse as their usual brand. The agency takes these data very seriously and considered risks to youth when reviewing these products,” the agency said.
But, “the evidence also indicated that, compared to users of non-tobacco flavored [vaping] products, young people are less likely to start using tobacco-flavored [vaping] products and then switch to higher-risk products, such as combusted cigarettes,” the FDA added. “The data also suggest that most youth and young adults w