Last Friday -July 28 2017-, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), has announced two major changes in the vaping & tobacco laws in the US. The new legislation regarding vaping products which was supposed to enter into force in 2021 has been postponed by one year. On the contrary, tobacco manufacturers will have to lower the nicotine content of their products for the first time in history. Here below is a short summary of those two announcements which sound like a victory for e-cigarette advocates.
The FDA commissionner Scott Gottlieb has indeed announced that e-cigarette manufacturers will have one more year – from 2021 to 2022- to abide by the FDA’s rules regarding their products’ marketing authorization. The tobacco manufacturers on the contrary will need to respect the regulation as early as 2021. This one-year reprieve is part of a series of measures that intend to divert the population from tobacco products. In America, the fight against smoking has stepped up over the last few years including a significant tax increase: now only 15% of the American people still are smokers. But the main change lies in the way e-cigarettes are considered by the FDA. During an interview with the New York Times, Scott Gottlieb has acknowledged the usefulness of e-cigarettes to keep the young people far from tobacco products.
Moreover, the FDA took a strong stance by examining the possibility to lower the nicotine content in cigarettes to reduce addiction among smokers. This decision should pull away smokers from tobacco products and bring them to less dangerous substitute products such as electronic cigarettes. The impact of this announcement on the New York Stock Exchange was immediate: the Altria share price (Philip Morris) lost up to 19%. According to Scott Gottlieb, reducing tobacco use and addiction among the youth is a priority that could save up to 5 million lives in the years to come. He also added that tobacco cigarettes are « the only legal consumer product that kill half of the people that use it for a long time ». The FDA is also thinking about a way to totally ban flavors (including menthol) that can be found in cigarettes because they could appeal to the youth.