On Tuesday (12), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – responsible for the inspection and regulation of food and medicine in the United States – approved for the first time the sale of an electronic cigarette in the country. This is a major turning point in discussions on North American public health and was highly anticipated by both users and manufacturers of e-cigs (or vapes).
The FDA’s go-ahead, for now, is very specific and doesn’t involve selling sweet or fruity flavors like mint. With the decision, the agency authorized the marketing only of the device and tobacco-flavored cartridges of the Vuse brand. It is likely that soon other brands will also receive authorization.
Behind the decision is the consensus that vapes with regularized cartridges – in which it is possible to know their exact composition – can offer smokers of traditional cigarettes a new alternative to quit the habit. “Aerosols from authorized products are significantly less toxic than burnt cigarettes based on available data,” the FDA explained in a statement of the ruling.
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“The FDA has determined that the potential benefit for smokers who completely change or significantly reduce cigarette use outweighs the risk for young people,” the agency clarified. This is because it is pointed out that the use of vapes encourages young people to enter the universe of drugs, however, the product can bring harm reduction, when controlled.
Vapes and young people in the USA
During the announcement, the FDA said it was aware of the use of Vuse products by younger people, but stressed that it was only approving “tobacco flavors,” meaning those that are considered less attractive to teenagers.
In fact, the future of mint-flavored cartridges has yet to be decided. Among critics, this is the flavor that most attracts young people to the habit. On the other hand, advocates of vapes argue that flavor is an ally for those who seek to quit smoking. On the topic, the agency said it is “still evaluating” the authorization of the mint flavored juice for Vuse.
In addition, the US agency also imposed restrictions on digital marketing for the sale of e-cigs and cartridges, as well as limitations on related advertisements on radio and television stations.
Regularization of electronic cigarettes
Remember that e-cigarettes hit the North American market in the early 2000s as devices designed to give smokers the expected dose of nicotine. But the vapes offer this, without the carcinogens that are normally released in the burning of traditional cigarettes.
Six years ago, with the launch of fruity-flavored cartridges, the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers began to skyrocket and public health officials feared that a generation of nonsmokers would become addicted to nicotine.
So, in September 2020, the FDA required all vape manufacturers — both new and existing companies — to submit an order for the sale of their products. They were even expected to present data proving the fact that these products benefit public health.
During the entire process, trade was not impeded. Now, FDA authorizations may set a new standard for the future of the vapes market in the US, which should impact decisions and new product regulations in other countries, such as Brazil.
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