US regulators are keeping options open with regards to potential benefits of electronic cigarettes, head of the US body regulating the substance’s use has said.
In comments that may propel growth of the $3 billion e-cigarette industry, Mitch Zeller, the boss of the Food and Administration’s for Tobacco Products, said the regulator is looking into speedy reviews for tobacco products on the basis of risk and toxicity as it crafts its e-cigarette policy.
The FDA stated in April 24 that it would start writing rules for e-cigarettes.
“Cigarettes are designed to create addiction. Ultimately it’s not the nicotine that kills. It’s all about the delivery mechanism,” Zeller is quoted by Bloomberg as having said on Wednesday at a Washington conference.
Most electronic cigars yield nicotine while filtering other common contents of tobacco such as tars and arsenic. The devices, which give consumers a real smoking-like experience by producing an inhalable vapor, were included towards the end of last year to a New York prohibition against smoking in restaurants, bars, offices and public parks. Similar bans were also implemented afterwards in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Zeller said that the FDA is laying emphasis on standards for tobacco products, to ensure a ban or restriction of some ingredients’ concentration levels with a view to addressing addiction and toxicity. The regulator has already made it clear that it will outlaw the sale of e-cigars to children.
He said that US regulators don’t have sufficient scientific data on e-cigars and their potential to help smokers quite or attract new ones. He said that the agency was approaching the issue with an open mind, regarding the possibility of the new smoking technologies to benefit public health.
According to Reuters, Zeller urged stakeholders not to lose sight of the fact that tobacco consumption is still the top cause of avoidable death and disease.
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