The FDA has announced its strategy to combat youth smoking and vaping. Just as Director Scott Gottlieb announced two weeks ago, the FDA is targeting the dangers of nicotine. The strategy is to expand upon the existing “The Real Cost” public education campaign. The campaign will be directed at cigarettes and smoking but for the first time it will also be directed at electronic cigarettes.
How will the FDA campaign keep kids from vaping? We know the focus will be on nicotine. There are fears that the campaign will make false claims about vaping potentially scaring current smokers away from vapor and keeping them on cigarettes. In the past, the FDA has connected vaping to formaldehyde based on a 2009 study. A 2009 study that was challenged and presented out of context. The results of that study showed small amounts of formaldehyde in one of nine types of ecigs tested. We do know that when an ecig is overheated or otherwise misused, it is possible to burn the e-juice and coils generating toxins.
The vaping advocacy groups are hopeful that the focus remains on nicotine and there is reason to believe that it will. Dr. Gottlieb has expressed an openness to the idea that current smokers who can;t quit could be moved to less harmful products. In other words, Gottleib’s FDA appears open to the possibility that vaping could be an ally to combat tobacco harm.
We will be watching to see exactly how the “The Real Cost” campaign will incorporate e-cigarettes into its tobacco prevention education. The ideal will be a campaign that truly helps to prevent kids from taking up either smoking or vaping. That should be the goal for all of us. As vapers, we would ask that all of us be mindful of vaping around kids. We can focus on ensuring that vapor products remain directed solely towards adult tobacco consumers. Our kids are watching and we all have a role.