Thursday, March 4, 2010

AAPHP Petitions to FDA on E-Cigarettes

The American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) has submitted two tobacco-related petitions to FDA. The first requested that FDA reclassify electronic cigarettes from a drug to a tobacco product. The second requested a follow-up press conference to correct errors and misinterpretations in their July 22, 2009 press conference. That press conference left many with the erroneous impressions that E-cigarettes might be more harmful than conventional cigarettes, that they are being marketed to teens, and that there is no information available to address these issues.

Dr. Joel L. Nitzkin, Chair of the AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, who has no financial relations ship with any tobacco-related or pharmaceutical enterprise, has addressed this issue because “the possibility exists to save the lives of 4 million of the 8 million adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco related illness over the next 20 years.”

As Dr. Nitzkin explains it, “Per our analysis, the only way we can achieve this huge public health benefit will be through addition of a harm reduction initiative to current tobacco control programming by which current smokers are informed of the differences in risk profile presented by different types of tobacco products. In that context, e-cigarettes appear to be the very-low-risk product likely to be acceptable to most current smokers. With strict FDA regulation of manufacturing and marketing -- it should be possible to achieve this public health benefit without increasing the numbers of teens initiating tobacco use. FDA regulation of this product as a drug would mean a de-facto ban until clinical trials not required of other tobacco products can be completed.”

The AAPHP notes that the provisions of the newly adopted FDA/Tobacco law will require that FDA grant full FDA approval to currently marketed conventional cigarettes, and that the Supreme Court is virtually sure to rule that FDA cannot prevent the cigarette manufacturers from informing smokers of the FDA approval. “Thus, the standard for comparison regarding the safety of alternate nicotine delivery products should not be the usual drug safety standards -- it should be in comparison with conventional cigarettes.”

The two petitions (about 20 pages each) plus a common set of attachments (303 pages) are posted on the tobacco issues page of our web site. The petitions, but not the attachments are accessible and available for comment on the web site. To access the petitions there, go to and type in the docket number in the Keyword field. The docket number for the petition to reclassify is FDA-2010-P-0095-0001. The docket number for the petition regarding the press conference is FDA-2010-P-0093-0001.

I urge readers of this blog to follow the directions in the paragraph above and leave positive comments for both petitions. Lives are at stake.


  1. Dr Joel is a goodie but dragging vaping into the tobacco/medicine war isn't going to help anybody but big business.

    Commercial nicotine is already regulated, there's no need for further safeguards to protect health.

    The only other thing the US might need is regulation to protect young people from being able to access toxic and addictive substances ... unless it's really all about control of a valuable lifestyle commodity.

    'Unregulated' caffeine and alcohol next for the chop?

  2. Thanks for all of your hard work getting the information out and fighting to keep e-cigs available as an alternative to cigarettes. I found your posts on ecf that provided all the links to make comments on the FDA documents.

    Less than two days from my first experience with e-cigs I stopped smoking regular cigarettes. No other product helped me as these have.

    By the way, we are neighbors. I live in NOVA as well.

  3. Electronic cigarettes contain zero tar, second hand smoke, and even burning substances so it's very safe for your health.

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