Study Finds FDA Regulation Could Create Black Market Or Send Users Back To Tobacco
A study conduced by the UK-based Centre for Substance Use Research has found that there is a high prospect of adverse health affects following the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of e-cigs. The study has found that it is unlikely that e-cig users will either seek illegal methods of purchasing vaping products or will increase their tobacco consumption. 9040 US vapers participated in the survey and some rather frightening results were discovered. Of the 9040, 8451 were current e-cig users, 282 were current e-cig users as well as smokers and 307 were current e-cig users who had never smoked. Asked what they would do if their e-cig products was taken off the market, 75% said they would stock up on the products if they had the chance before the rules were implemented. 70% said they would purchase e-cigs from a black market, 66% said they would import from overseas and 65% said they would create their own e-liquid. The most worrying statistic was that less than 20% would use an FDA-approved product rather than their preferred e-cig. 15% of former smokers said they would consider a return to tobacco cigarettes. 33% of current smokers said they would smoke more tobacco, and 10% of non-smokers said they would start. There are an estimated 8.34 million e-cig users in the US, which makes some of these percentages a little more alarming. With such a high figure of people either purchasing e-cigs from the black market or returning to tobacco, it's surely time the FDA reconsidered. Dr Christopher Russell, who led the research, said that there is “an enormous gulf” between the FDA’s intentions and the likely impact of the regulations. “The regulators' aims of improving the quality standards in e-cigarette production, improving the accuracy of labeling, ensuring the safety of e-cigarettes, and to reducing young people's access to e-cigarettes are all laudable aims in themselves.” “However, if in the wake of these regulations, significant numbers of e-cigarette users turn to the black-market to source their preferred products, then the positive impact of the regulations will have been diminished and significant harm could be caused to those users. It is vitally important that FDA and policy makers recognise the harms that would potentially be caused if, after August 8th 2018, the majority of current e-cigarette users sampled, who may represent many millions more, act on their expressed intentions to pursue ways to continue to using e-cigarette products that are taken off the licit market by the FDA's Deeming Rule.” Dr Russell added that it’s important the FDA monitor the impact of their regulations. “Clearly it is not in anybody's interests to drive the population of current e-cigarette users towards the black-market. One way of avoiding these adverse unintended consequences would be for the FDA to allow current e-cigarettes and e-liquids to continue to be the subject of a lighter form of regulatory assessment whilst imposing much stricter regulatory controls on any future products being developed by the industry.” The FDA revealed in early May that they were planning to regulate e-cigs like normal tobacco. Their regulation has attracted criticism widely for their actions, including from a US Senator. The FDA’s changes implemented have already had dire consequences for the US e-cig industry.