Recently, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association Conference occurred, and was attended by vaping industry experts, insiders, and peoples of importance. It was an excellent meeting for those with great influence to discuss the current scene, as well as progressions for the future. Among those in attendance were Bonnie Herzog, the senior tobacco analyst for Wells Fargo, and Mitch Medder, the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products for the FDA. Conversations between these two heavyweights revolved around the subject of e-cigarette and nicotine usefulness and regulations. Particularly focusing on matters at hand, and what issues are playing into the decisions on how e-cigarettes will be classified and considered in the future.
When it comes to e-cigarette regulations there has been a lot of focus on issues that don’t exactly play a crucial role, both parties agreed. With so much emphasis placed on under age users, flavors that err on the sweet side (you know, fruit, dessert, and candy flavored varieties), and the role of marketing, it seems as though we’re losing sight of the most important aspects of the products. While these hot topics are of course important, they should not be used to create drama unnecessarily.
Electronic cigarettes and vaporizers have the potential to offer smokers another avenue. Instead of turning to prescription drugs, or continuing on with smoking because they feel trapped, having the option of controling one’s level of nicotine in a similar manner enables an incredible method, and alternative to the traditional routes.
One of the issues discussed centers around the role of electronic cigarettes and how they may be used as a tool in harm reduction. While there is a huge focus on the necessity of scientific research and data, when it comes to defining regulations, Zeller emphasized that beginning a dialogue with stakeholders on the subject of nicotine is of great importance. Zeller also stated that the entire debate of the e-cigs and nicotine and the FDA (as well as other entities such as the center for drug evaluation and research and the center for devices and radiological health) needs to be addressed, especially in regards to nicotine being used therapeutically.
As far as news outlets and reporting go, sensationalism sells, however when it comes to electornic cigarettes, their benefits need not be overlooked in favor of outrageous, eyebrow-raising reports aimed at garnering attention. The real focus on these products and their future regulations should revolve around their effectiveness, usefulness, and scientific data.