Come with us on a short trip down memory lane as we attempt to get to the bottom of the misplaced fight between the FDA, anti-smoking groups, and the electronic cigarette industry…
Two years ago, the FDA tried and failed to impose regulations on tobacco products, and now they expect to be successful in regulating a non-tobacco product for the same reason? We don’t think so…
Forced to Buy Into the Industry?
Big Tobacco has started buying into the e-cigarette industry, and with good reason. Not only is selling cigarettes literally a multibillion-dollar industry, but the popularity of the e-cigarette is starting to eat a chunk out of the traditional cigarette industry.
In fact, it’s eaten such a big chunk of the traditional cigarette industry that e-cigarettes comprised more than 2 billion in sales in the last year alone.
That’s a huge chunk Big Tobacco change out of pocket – or is it?
The fact is that Big Tobacco has been buying into the e-cig industry for some time now. Lorillard, Phillip Morris International and other companies have recently made huge purchases in the hopes that the FDA and other government bodies will continue to allow e-cigs to be vaped unregulated. If so, then these companies will be able to recoup much of their lost revenue with the new revenue stream.
FDA and Supreme Court Reactions
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Supreme Court are proving that their “emotionally charged” legislation against Big Tobacco is part of what pushed the companies into the e-cigarette industry.
Case in point: FDA vs Big Tobacco Re: Graphic Warnings
The FDA proposed a rule that would require Big Tobacco to label its cigarette packages with clear words and photos that were prominent to show smokers who choose to purchase the products that they are harmful to your health.
Some of the original packaging photo sets were a bit more than questionable and included:
A woman blowing smoke into a baby’s face:
A set of badly stained teeth:
A set of lungs – one side healthy and the other not
A recently autopsied body
All four of the above photos via FDA (Public Domain) In addition to five others were to be final, of 36 total that were proposed.
While we understand the point of the graphic warnings, they were taking them a bit further than was necessary – especially since there’s many causes of yellowing teeth and black lungs - not to mention death, stroke, and no mother in her right mind would actually blow smoke in a baby’s face.
In any case, Big Tobacco sued the FDA, and based their argument on the first amendment and rightfully so. Essentially, the FDA requirements forced the tobacco companies to market their product in a negative light.
The FDA doesn’t force butter or oil manufacturers to provide a graphic warning showing clogged arteries, so why should tobacco companies be forced to market their products in such a way? Besides, people smoke by choice knowing full well that doing so is harmful to their health – just like they eat butter, candy and chips knowing full well what the foods can do to their health.
The requirements would have forced tobacco companies to start using the labels by the fall of 2012 the FDA lost its fight against Big Tobacco on this one after the U.S. Supreme court pretty much told the FDA to give it up.
Why Does What Happened to Big Tobacco Matter to E-Cigs?
Which brings us to the point of our trip down memory lane. Once again, the FDA is overreacting in its attempt to regulate Big Tobacco. Once again, the FDA has decided it needs to regulate Big Tobacco, but not its tobacco products.
Actually, this time the FDA wants to regulate these non-tobacco products in the same way it tried to regulate the tobacco products. The other point is that regulation only became an issue after Big Tobacco started buying into the industry.
What we’re wondering is:
How does the FDA propose to regulate e-cigs in the same ways as it regulates Big Tobacco if e-cigs don’t do the same things to our bodies that smoking Tobacco does?
Simply put, e-cigarettes’ vapor doesn’t cause cancer, doesn’t yellow teeth, doesn’t kill, and certainly doesn’t turn lungs black or harm kids (granted, unless the kids are using the e-cig directly and getting nicotine). So if e-cigs don’t harm us the same way that tobacco does, why is the FDA trying to regulate the industry?
Besides, just how exactly does the FDA expect to win the fight against e-cigarettes a non-tobacco product - if the FDA lost its fight against the real thing?