Electronic cigarette users everywhere are rejoicing today following the ruling by the United States Court of Appeals that the FDA‘s request for a rehearing was denied. The entire court unanimously declined the FDA‘s rehearing request. This is a giant step towards e-cigarettes being regulated like traditional tobacco products. Consumers view this as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes rather than as pharmaceutical smoking cessation devices. The FDA claimed that an electronic cigarette was basically just another tool to quit smoking, much like the nicotine gum, lozenges, and sprays that are available now, marketed as smoking cessation devices, but the ruling denied them the ability to regulate electronic cigarettes as such.
Electronic cigarettes are made up of three parts: the battery, the atomizer, and the nicotine liquid that, when heated, creates a fine water-vapor based mist. The mist allows users to get a small dose of nicotine and flavoring. Basically, a high tech version of a traditional cigarette, only without the combustion of plant material. This means no burning, no tar, and the vapor dissipates rapidly leaving only a light scent in the air. Users are able to pick from varying levels of nicotine strengths, even all the way down to zero nicotine, and flavors. Due to the fact that there is no combustion of plant material, the user doesn’t get the large amounts of combustion related carcinogens present in traditional tobacco products. In short, it’s a smart alternative to traditional tobacco products.
The FDA is currently “considering it’s legal and regulatory options” to pursue the case further. The next steps would be to bring it to the United States Supreme Court, but since the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected it unanimously, it is unlikely that it would be granted. Regardless of the likelihood, the FDA still has the option to pursue and push the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court also refused the FDA‘s motion to keep intercepting product shipments from China.
So what does this mean for the average vaper? We’re still unclear if the FDA will continue to stop shipments to other vendors from China, but it is likely that as long as the vendor doesn’t make claims that the devices are marketed as smoking cessation devices the shipments should be allowed. It will be a long road to finally be accepted as a smoking alternative, but this is a huge step in the right direction.
Join us in our discussion of the ruling here: