The question is ‘What kind of regulation?’
Some opponents of electronic cigarettes have stated they believe those who manufacturer and sell electronic cigarettes are trying to skirt regulation by the FDA. They ask “why don’t they just go through the normal NRT process like the nicotine gum or patch?”. I will answer these questions from the perspective of one company who sells electronic cigarettes.
We are NOT opposed to regulation. In fact one of the reasons we helped form the Electronic Cigarette Association is because we believe there does need to be a certain level of regulation. This includes, among other things, how it is manufactured, how it can be marketed, proper warnings, and most certainly keeping it out of the hands of minors. Some of these regulations are easy to implement and others will take time and help from an agency such as the FDA.
We ARE opposed to becoming an NRT. We strongly believe that the electronic cigarette should be allowed to freely compete with tobacco cigarettes on the open market. As an NRT, a product must be sold in pharmacies either with or without a prescription. NRTs are often more expensive than tobacco cigarettes. NRTs come with a stop usage date…..hence the claims of “quit smoking” which is really “quit using nicotine”. Placing these restrictions on electronic cigarettes create an unfair advantage for those who sell tobacco cigarettes.
I suppose the question is; if adults can legally choose to smoke tobacco cigarettes for as long as they like, why can’t they legally choose to use electronic cigarettes for as long as they like? For those who want to make claims such as “the electronic cigarette helps you quit smoking”, then they should do the proper clinical trials to prove that, submit it to the FDA, and then go sell it in pharmacies as a quit smoking product.
We applaud Matt Salmon, President of the ECA, in this Reuters article when he said, “We understand that to protect the public, some form of regulation may be necessary, and we welcome that. Our goal, nevertheless, is to ensure committed adult smokers the freedom of a clear, better alternative and to prohibit sales to minors”.