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Vaping Industry Group Sues U.S. Government to Delay Upcoming Review of Thousands of E-Cigarettes on Market

The legal challenge by the Vapor Technology Association is the latest hurdle in the Food and Drug Administration's yearslong effort

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Vaping, US, E-Cigarettes
FILE - A patron exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in New York. (Representational image). VOA

A vaping industry group sued the U.S. government on Wednesday to delay an upcoming review of thousands of e-cigarettes on the market.

The legal challenge by the Vapor Technology Association is the latest hurdle in the Food and Drug Administration’s yearslong effort to regulate the multibillion-dollar vaping industry, which includes makers and retailers of e-cigarette devices and flavored solutions.

The vaping group argued that the latest deadline of next May to submit products for review could wipe out many of the smaller companies. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky.

E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown in popularity despite little research on their long-term effects, including whether they can help smokers quit cigarettes.

Vaping, US, E-Cigarettes
FILE – A cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco, June 17, 2019. VOA

In recent years, health authorities have warned of an epidemic of vaping by underage teenagers, particularly the leading brand Juul, known for its high nicotine content and easy-to-conceal device, which resembles a flash drive.

Nicotine is what makes both cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive, and health experts say the chemical is harmful to developing brains.

San Francisco-based Juul is among 800 member companies of the vaping association.

Moving deadlines

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The 2009 law that gave the FDA power over the traditional tobacco products did not mention e-cigarettes. And it wasn’t until 2016 that the agency expanded its own regulations to include the devices. But since then FDA regulators have repeatedly pushed back the timeline, at one point until 2022, to begin reviewing the legions of vaping products that have come to market.

Frustrated by the delays, anti-tobacco groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sued the FDA to speed up the process. In June, a federal judge sided with the groups and set a deadline of next May for all companies to submit their products for federal review. The FDA did not appeal the decision.

The vapor group’s lawsuit said the FDA has now set five different deadlines.

“It is time for FDA to stop moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game to the detriment of our manufacturers and small businesses,” said Tony Abboud, the group’s executive director, in a statement.

Vaping, US, E-Cigarettes
A vaping industry group sued the U.S. government on Wednesday to delay an upcoming review of thousands of e-cigarettes on the market. VOA

Vaping executives have long said that most companies will not be able to afford to conduct large, expensive studies needed for FDA review. Only products that meet FDA standards would be permitted to be sold.

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The FDA declined to comment on the lawsuit. (VOA)

Next Story

Vaping May not Help with Smoking Cessation: Report

The report found that smoking cessation could reduce the risk of many negative health effects, including reproductive health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and numerous cancers

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vaping
Many people may be vaping nicotine through e-cigarettes, smoking. Pixabay

The US government released on Thursday its first smoking cessation report in 30 years, showing that there is inadequate evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes help quit smoking.

It is difficult to make generalizations about efficacy for cessation based on clinical trials involving a particular e-cigarette, according to the report.

E-cigarettes have long been embraced as a less harmful way to satisfy smokers’ nicotine addiction, but all-time high youth vaping in the country has prompted calls for action to stem their use, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 3.6 million middle and high school students report that they used e-cigarettes in 2018, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed premarket applications for all flavoured e-cigarette products that continue to be sold by Aug. 8, 2021.

The FDA suspended this month the sale of cartridge-based e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco or menthol.

American, Medical, Electronic Cigarettes
A man uses a vape as he walks on Broadway in New York City, September 9, 2019. VOA

Also, the report said cessation medications approved by the FDA and behavioural counseling could increase the likelihood of successfully quitting smoking, particularly when used in combination.

More than three out of five US adults who have ever smoked cigarettes have quit. However, less than one-third use FDA-approved cessation medications or behavioural counseling, the report said.

Cigarette smoking among American adults is at an all-time low (14 percent), according to the report. However, it remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Approximately 34 million American adults currently smoke cigarettes.

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The report found that smoking cessation could reduce the risk of many negative health effects, including reproductive health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and numerous cancers.

“I’m calling on healthcare professionals, health systems, employers, insurers, public health professionals, and policy makers to take action to put an end to the staggering and completely preventable human and financial tolls that smoking takes on our country,” said Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams. (IANS)