After 15 years of unauthorized vaping products being marketed across the country, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Oct. 12 gave its first-ever e-cigarette approval – three devices made by the company Vuse.
Until recently, the FDA chose not to act in regulating a market that, as longtime smoking-cessation expert Arnold Levinson, PhD, said, “took our kids by storm.”
Now the administration has mandated applications from vaping manufacturers that require they prove, among other things, that the products are “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
The FDA has rejected many of these applications, particularly for flavored vaping products. It has yet to rule on a stack of others, including for the popular vaping brand JUUL.
So it’s true that you can get more addicted to at least
some e-cigarette products. – Arnold Levinson, PhD
The FDA based its Vuse ruling largely on 50 studies with more than 12,000 participants that suggested e-cigarettes were an effective tool in helping adult smokers of combustible cigarettes quit. The benefit, it said, outweighed the risk to the country’s youth.
The decision ignited a firestorm of controversy, with anti-tobacco groups, including the American Lung Association, criticizing the move, which many call premature.
Below, Levinson, a professor with the Colorado School of Public Health and a member of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, weighs in on the decision, emphasizing that he has not seen all the data the FDA considered. Levinson has focused on tobacco control and health behavior research for 25 years. His interview has been edited for length and clarity.