Wednesday, July 31, 2013

E-cigs debate takes turn: Expert says they may pose less risk than cigarettes

BY Richard Craver/Winston-Salem Journal

A regulatory challenge, in the United States and in Europe, has been how to regulate e-cigs – as a medication or a tobacco product. If the FDA determines e-cigs can be helpful in smoking cessation, they could be regulated both ways.

[Dr. Neal] Benowitz said dual regulation for e-cigs makes little practical sense. “A comprehensive regulatory approach to nicotine-containing products is needed,” he said.

The reaction to Benowitz’ report was mixed, with many analysts saying he either went too far or not far enough in evaluating the potential public-health aspects of e-cigs.

“It is good to see Benowitz join the growing number of academicians and scientists who acknowledge the obvious harm-reduction benefits of e-cigarettes and recognize that pharmaceutical-style regulation would stifle critical innovation,” said Dr. Carl Phillips, scientific director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.

“Unfortunately, they stop short of acknowledging that the innovation matters because people like using e-cigarettes, and innovation contributes to this benefit in addition to improving the safety of the product.”

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