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FDA Changes Its Mind on Vaping, Cracks Down on Nicotine Instead

With smokers scrambling to find an easy way to stop their habits by turning to e-cigarettes and “vaping” instead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on nicotine, as opposed to attempting to end smoking and vaping both, Science Alert reports. The FDA issued strict regulations on e-cigarettes months ago, but opponents worried that it would snuff out the vaping business, so newly-appointed FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb is choosing to clamp down on nicotine instead. Claiming it’s the chemicals in cigarettes that make them dangerous, not nicotine, Gottlieb believes reducing the nicotine, which is highly addictive, will discourage young people from getting hooked on smoking in the first place.

If ever there were a more convoluted argument when it comes to smoking, whether it’s actual cigarettes or vaping, this is the most industry-favorable I’ve heard. Sure, getting rid of the most addictive part — nicotine — might prevent some from getting “hooked,” but that doesn’t do a thing about the chemicals Gottlieb himself admits are in cigarettes, not to mention what’s in e-cigarettes.

What’s also noteworthy is that most of the major U.S. tobacco companies have created electronic cigarette products, which shows just how industry-favorable Gottlieb’s decision is. It’s obvious, then, that his focusing solely on nicotine is unconscionable when e-cigarettes also contain flavorings designed to both satisfy your taste buds and make you want more — in other words, addicted to e-cigarettes.  

For example, diacetyl, a flavoring chemical, has been detected in 39 of 51 e-cigarette flavors, including fruit, alcohol and candy flavors. Diacetyl and related chemicals are linked to respiratory damage, including inflammation and permanent scarring of the airways. This is hardly a good alternative to nicotine.
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