The verdict? Ecigarettes are less harmful. At least, that’s the expert opinion of Dr. Sally Satel, a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Satel recently gave an interview to the Wall St. Journal where she shared her concern that over-regulation of vapor products could put some e-cigarette companies out of business. That, she believes, would be a terrible disservice to current vapers and those trying to move away from combustible cigarettes.
Satel points out that if ecigarettes, which contain no tobacco, are deemed tobacco products, the regulations as currently proposed will cost manufacturers over $1 million to satisfy pre-market approval. These fines, of course, aren’t an issue for Big Tobacco companies that market ecigarettes because their deeper pockets can absorb the costs.
We at V2 believe in commonsense regulation to ensure battery safety and e-liquid quality, naturally. But the way legislators are proposing to regulate the industry includes a “Grandfather Date” that would require every device produced after February 2007 to undertake an onerous and expensive process that some say would put the $3.5 billion vaping industry out of business.
Not all legislators are proponents of the current bill. An alternative bill, HR-2058, was introduced to the U.S. House in April by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma. It could amend the FDA’s February 2007 date to 21 months after the date the FDA officially enacts its regulations on ecigarettes. This means any vaping product before that date would not have to gain FDA pre-market FDA approval.
U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, a co-sponsor of HR-2058, sees its passage as a way to keep small businesses alive and well.
Keeping small e-cigarette companies in business also helps ensure continued industry innovation. We agree with Satel, who believes that vaping companies are among the most innovative businesses today, in an industry where innovation can actually diminish behavior that is a known health risk.
Admittedly, Dr. Satel acknowledges any long-term effects of vaping can’t be known because ecigarettes haven’t been around for 20 years. But she asserts that the risks are far less than those of combustible cigarettes, concluding that “20 years of vaping will be a lot better than 20 years of smoking.”