June 20, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

San Francisco moves forward ban on ecig sales until FDA acts

I am proud that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to end the sale of e-cigarettes in San Francisco until such time as e-cigarette companies get premarket authorization to sell their products.

The only reason the City had to do this is because the FDA is not doing its job by requiring e-cig companies to obey the law.

Even given FDA's cavalier attitude toward  the law (which has been rebuked by a federal court in Maryland), there is nothing that prevented Juul and the other e-cig companies from submitting premarket authorization applications to the FDA three years ago.  To date, not a single company has submitted such an application.

Having said that, FDA's recent authorization to sell IQOS in the USA makes me worry about what FDA will do about e-cigs once they do start getting applications.  As detailed in an earlier blog post, FDA's standard for allowing new tobacco products to be sold is effectively that they are "not as bad as a cigarette."  Just about anything meets that standard.

E-cigarettes are unmistakably making the tobacco epidemic worse.  The FDA is complicit in allowing this epidemic to develop.  If FDA had done its job and required Juul and the other e-cigarette companies to submit premarket requests in a timely manner and processed them, SF’s law would have not been necessary.

Other cities and states should follow SF’s lead: pass comprehensive flavor bans, followed by legislation to prohibit the sales of ecigs until they are properly assessed by FDA.

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