October 11, 2013

FDA Should Take Page from EU Playbook

Just a few days ago, I was glad the FDA didn't react like the EU and try to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices. A federal court saw to that in 2011 when the FDA's 2009 attempts to ban e-cigarettes was shot down (see more early FDA and e-cigarette history here). Now that the EU has come to its senses, maybe the EU should emulate our friends across the sea. That's the same conclusion an opinion piece in Forbes came to as well.

Why Is The FDA Shielding Smokers From The Good News About E-Cigarettes?

But if the FDA’s Zeller decides to interpret the law flexibly — there are provisions in the law to allow it — and exempt e-cigarettes from such stringent regulation, while enforcing sound manufacturing practices, valid product labeling and a ban on sales to minors, a revolution in public health may transpire. Listen, to everyone’s surprise, the European parliament did just that! Those of us devoted to public health now have reason to hope that our FDA will hear the lesson from the EU, and flout the hysterics and rent-seekers whose messages would lead to more needless smoking-related death.

These are indeed some strange times. Really the EU's seeing the light was thanks to thousands of committed consumers being active in the political process. As the article points out, there seems to be a lot going on hear, so it's unlikely the FDA will be reasonable without some amount of persuasion by real people.

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