San Diego -- April 5, 2014
The Office of Science in the Center for Tobacco Products held a public listening session, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), this past Saturday. Senior staff from the Office of Science was present to hear relevant presentations from members of the public.
CASAA director Elaine Keller attended the event with a presentation written by her and CASAA's Scientific Director, Dr. Carl Phillips, PhD. Below is the transcript of the prepared presentation, with corresponding slides.
SUBMITTED AS ABSTRACT
A large portion of the science related to low-risk alternatives to smoking seems predicated on informing the regulatory question “should these products be caused to disappear, or at least be marginalized from the public view?” But since neither of these is a possibility in a free society, the research efforts designed to promote bans and the responses designed to head-off bans do nothing to improve regulations. Useful regulatory science must be premised on the reality on the ground, not the questionable and unattainable goals of a vocal minority. Such science would help determine what real-world regulation would benefit consumers with improved safety (e.g., specific features of e-cigarettes that should be sought or avoided) and improved understanding (e.g., accurate warning labels on smokeless tobacco). It would also help serve broader policy goals (e.g., moving away from the currently denigrated e-cigarette advertising to messaging that encourages harm reduction without glorifying any product).
To reiterate in conclusion, useful research on e-cigarettes, as well as other low-risk alternatives to smoking, needs to be based on reality. Moreover, the proper role of regulations is to benefit consumers, not to deny them the right to make reasonable choices for themselves. A huge portion of the current research would only be of benefit if the regulatory question at hand were “should e-cigarettes cease to exist.” Since that is not going to happen, the research is just self-serving prohibitionist rhetoric that provides no useful information to FDA or the world.