FDA May Regulate E-Cigarettes as Over-the-Counter Drug

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FDA May Regulate E-Cigarettes as Over-the-Counter Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering drastic changes to how its regulates e-cigarettes. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb revealed that his agency is considering regulating e-cigarettes in the same way as it does over-the-counter drugs, enabling it to apply more tools and resources to the product category that could help people quit smoking all together.

In recent months, the FDA has been re-evaluating its regulation and view of many tobacco products. Months ago, it revealed that combating nicotine levels and supporting smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy products. While nothing has been decided on, the FDA has been reconsidering vaping and e-cigarette products and how this growing category fits within its evolving policy.

In an interview with Meg Tirrell at CNBC’s Healthy Returns conference, Gottlieb commented: “We’re looking very actively at could we bring e-cigarettes into the over-the-counter regulatory pathway, which would give us many more tools to look at both safety and benefit, and study whether or not an e-cigarette actually does promote smoking cessation and also give us many more tools to actually study the toxicology associated with it and see what effects it might have on the lung.”

In the same report, the FDA is said to be preparing new guidance documents that will address e-cigarettes and criteria related to what makes a product one that truly addresses smoking cessation and reduction. Since Gottlieb has been appointed, he and the FDA has pushed the idea of tobacco products being on a continuum of risk with traditional combustible tobacco products like cigarettes being viewed as the most harmful.

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