WASHINGTON (AP), — Tuesday’s approval by health officials in the United States granted the first electronic cigarettes. They said that R.J. Reynolds vaping products could benefit adult smokers.
According to the Food and Drug Administration data, Vuse e-cigarettes were able to help smokers quit smoking.
Tuesday’s landmark decision is part a broad effort by FDA after years of delays to bring scientific scrutiny into the multibillion-dollar vaping market.
The agency stated that it had declined applications for over a million ecigarettes and related products in September, mainly because of their potential appeal to minors. However, regulators waited to make decisions about the majority of major vaping companies including Juul.
Vuse’s Solo Power refillable device and tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges are not affected by the FDA’s decision. Although the FDA stated that it had rejected 10 additional requests from Vuse for flavored products, it did not reveal details. The FDA is currently reviewing the request by the company to market a menthol-flavored nicotine product.
“Today’s authorizations represent an important step towards ensuring that all new tobacco products undergo FDA’s rigorous, scientific premarket assessment,” stated Mitch Zeller (director of the FDA’s tobacco center), in a statement.
“The data from the manufacturer shows that its tobacco-flavored products can be used by addicted adult smokers to reduce their cigarette intake, either entirely or in significant ways.”
E-cigarettes were first introduced in the U.S. over a decade ago. They are a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes and offer a healthier option. Inhaled nicotine is heated in the devices.
There has not been a rigorous evaluation of whether e-cigarettes really help smokers quit. FDA efforts to start vetting vaping products, and their claims, were repeatedly thwarted and impeded by industry lobbying and competing interests.
The vaping market has grown to include hundreds upon hundreds of companies that sell a variety of nicotine solutions and devices in different strengths and flavors. The majority of the market is still controlled by a handful of companies, including Juul Labs (partially owned by Altria) and Vuse.
Companies must prove that their products are good for public health in order to stay on the marketplace. It means showing that products help public health by proving that adults who smoke are more likely to quit, or to reduce, their smoking habits, and that teens are less likely to become addicted to them.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education provides support to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. All content is owned by the Associated Press.