The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the sale of an electronic cigarette in the United States for the first time, marking a turning point in one of the most controversial public health debates in decades.
While flagging a device and tobacco flavored cartridges marketed by RJ Reynolds under the brand name Vuse, the agency indicated that it believed some vaping devices offered smokers to quit traditional cigarettes, Which is more important than the risks of trapping the new generation.
“Aerosols from authorized products are significantly less toxic than combustible cigarettes based on available data,” the FDA said in a statement announcing the decision.
“The FDA determined that the potential benefits to smokers who switch completely or significantly reduce their cigarette use will outweigh the risks to youth,” the statement concluded.
Watershed’s decision could pave the way for authorizing some other electronic cigarettes to remain on the market, including once major manufacturer Juul. For more than a year, makers of e-cigarettes have been in a holding pattern — their products are on the market but awaiting official authorization — as the FDA investigated whether they were of benefit or threat to public health.
Over the past few months, as part of that review, the agency ordered thousands of vaping products from the market, including a brand that hails Juul as a favorite among teens for its fruit and candy flavor, Puff Bars. has gone beyond. On Tuesday, the agency also ordered 10 other Vus flavored products from the market, but declined to say which products it rejected.
The condemnation of the decision was swift.
“It throws young people under the bus,” said Erica Sward, national assistant vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association. She said the concern was with the broader argument supporting these products, as well as with Vues, which was found to be one of the most popular vaping brands with young people in the government’s most recent survey on youth tobacco use.
RJ Reynolds, the owner of Vousse, is one of the largest cigarette companies in the world. Juul is owned by another, Altria. Ms Sward said an industry that had lied about hooking generations on a deadly product that killed millions is now positioned to control the next iteration of the nicotine market.
“The industry is waiting for their next big thing and they found it with e-cigarettes,” she said.
Kellan Holden, a spokeswoman for Reynolds American, RJR’s parent company, said the decision “represents a pivotal moment for Reynolds” and shows that the authorized products are “appropriate to protect public health.”