Affiliate marketers claim you will quit smoking; electronic cigarette sellers suggest that you can get that nicotine fix anywhere. The FDA has already viewed the e-cigarette phenomenon with a wary eye, but now the agency is kicking (virtual) butts and taking names.
FDA to Electronic Cigarette Association: Regulation’s up ahead
In a letter dated September 8, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration advised Electronic Cigarette Association President M. Salmon of the warnings it issued against five e-cigarette distributors.
Points of contention were uncorroborated drug claims, questionable manufacturing standards and the use of electric cigarette technology for the delivery of “pharmaceutical ingredients.” At issue are tadalafil (a.k.a. Cialis) and rimonabant (a weight loss drug ingredient not certified in the US).
The FDA explains that smokeless cigarettes and associated products fall under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and as such manufacturers must submit to an intricate drug approval process. For the manufacturer who hopes for a speedier over-the-counter designation, the news is not good: there is actually more red tape.
How to Quit Smoking: Electronic Cigarette Manufacturer Claims to Have Found Holy Grail
When previously examining misleading e-cigarette marketing, the onslaught of criticism and hostility by the e-cigarette lobby was swift and concerted. Numerous ‘testimonials’ from supposedly former smokers suggested that it is entirely possible to quit smoking, electronic cigarette in hand.
In fact, the Premium Cigarette retailer boldly suggests that the electric cigarette is a good option for “smokers who want to quit smoking.” The promise of “painless smoking abstention” is supposedly fulfilled through the gradual decrease of nicotine inhalation.
INSTEAD Electronic Cigarettes is a lot more careful about its ‘quit smoking/electronic cigarette’ assertion and states that “electronic cigarettes are not quit smoking devices and there is no guarantee an individual will stop smoking tobacco cigarettes.”
It is this contradiction that highlights the need for overall regulation.
What Consumers Should Know about Smokeless Cigarettes (and won’t likely hear from e-cigarette manufacturers or their affiliate marketers)
The FDA explains that electronic cigarette makers must refrain from making unsubstantiated marketing claims. Instead, they should submit their smokeless cigarettes to the FDA for approval via an outlined process.
In spite of what marketers may have you believe, nicotine is addictive, even when inhaled as a vapor. This can have devastating effects on youngsters who thus far have not smoked. (What kid wouldn’t be tempted to experience the nicotine buzz but without the telltale smell?)
In addition, manufacturing practices vary and some makers include toxic chemicals in their mists, including glycol (found in antifreeze) and nitrosamines (carcinogens).
What does the e-cigarette lobby have to say about the FDA warning? If posts to my previous article — and to others’ writings questioning the usefulness of smokeless cigarettes — are any indication, they generally hint at (unproven) conspiracy theories that alternatively paint the FDA as being in bed with “big tobacco” or hypocritical in their take on tobacco and the e-cigarette.