UK data shows that the US Food and Drug Administration is poorly served

Reprinted from internal sources

The UK’s leading anti-smoking organisation, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has released a report detailing the use of vaping products in England, Scotland and Wales. The report is based on a survey of 13,000 adults and was widely reported in the British media.

ASH reports that there has been a significant increase in the number of people vaping in Great Britain, with 4.3 million current vapen in 2022, an increase of 19.4% from 3.6 million in 2021. Furthermore, more than half (2.4 million) – Cigarette users in the entire 2022 survey switched from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

Unlike the US, the UK Public Health is quite comfortable about adult e-cigarette use, and the report was greeted enthusiastically by the anti-smoking group. ASH Executive Vice President Hazel Cheeseman was quoted as saying that the increase in smokers turning to vaping was “great news.” Even the reported increase in non-vaping smokers doesn’t overly concern Cheeseman, who said vaping among this group tends to be “rare” and “experimental.”

Furthermore, ASH revealed that fruit flavors are the most popular flavor used by UK adult online newspapers, with 41 per cent of those surveyed using it. Menthol comes in second at 19 percent. Interestingly, only 15 percent of respondents said tobacco was their main favorite flavor. E-cigarettes are available in a variety of flavors in the UK with little or no panic from government, government-funded health organisations, public health charities and NGOs. Everyone understands that flavors are important to newspapers in keeping them away from the taste of combustible tobacco.

In a press release, ASH declared that the “vaping revolution” has occurred over the past decade. It came quickly after a briefing on vaping for young people in the UK, which has been approved by several high-profile public health bodies and in collaboration with regulatory and academic experts. The brief dismissed media claims that youth vaping risks becoming a potential “public health disaster” leading to a “nicotine addict generation”.

This is all a far cry from the approach taken by the US Food and Drug Administration and many US public health groups. These organizations routinely exaggerate the potential harms of vaping and cry out that the “youth vaping epidemic” has largely subsided.

The UK government supports e-cigarettes, the National Health Service recommends them for smokers who cannot quit using other means, and there is multi-party political support for vaping, and health charities endorse it. E-cigarette stores can be found in some hospitals.

In the UK, people who smoke have a choice of thousands of different vaping products, flavor options and nicotine strengths, which are largely successful in luring many away from combustible tobacco and consuming nicotine in a safer way, as the latest ASH data shows.

This is because manufacturers in Britain only need to notify the regulator of vaping products they intend to market, ensure that they are free of certain harmful ingredients, and ensure that they are only sold to adult smokers to help them quit.

By contrast, the Food and Drug Administration is preventing the US from enjoying a “vaping revolution” similar to the one in the UK by allowing only a few vaping products made by three companies, all flavored only with tobacco. This is in complete disregard for governments around the world who understand that vaping is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking, and that no deaths from nicotine use have been reported anywhere in the world since its introduction 20 years ago.

So why would the FDA take such an excessive precautionary approach to vaping, and spread dangerous misinformation at every opportunity? This has resulted in the United States essentially abandoning the enormous public health benefits enjoyed by the British population thanks to the adoption of its institution of harm reduction when it comes to nicotine use.

In light of what’s happening across the Atlantic, why should the American public be denied revolutionary low-risk nicotine products by the FDA’s bureaucratic parochialism, its embarrassing failure to regulate the sector, and its cowardly capitulation to highly-funded ban groups?

The incompetence of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) serves the American public poorly, while the UK recognizes and embraces the effectiveness of tobacco harm reduction. Adults who smoke in America deserve better than a regulatory agency that has lost its primary goal – to save lives, not frivolous policies.

Martin Collip

Martin Collip is an International Fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s Consumer Center based in South London, UK.

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