New Quit Smoking Aid

Today there are many ways and means by which one can kick the habit of smoking cigarettes. Some opt to try nicotine patches, while others choose nicotine gum. Others may give hypnosis a try. Meantime, there are still plenty of smokers who attempt to quit cold turkey, with no aids whatsoever.

Newest Aid

New quit-smoking aids pop up all the time. The newest aid on the market is something called, "e-cigarettes." These give smokers a little extra something to lean on during the difficult process of quitting smoking.

E-cigarettes are thin tubes that resemble regular cigarettes. The tubes convert a form of liquid nicotine into a vapor that tastes much like tobacco and can be inhaled by the "smoker." However, these e-cigarettes could not be sold in the United States until January 2010. 

Though the FDA was against the commercial sale of e-cigarettes, a federal judge lifted an import ban on the e-cigarettes, which are manufactured in China. Distributors of the e-cigarettes claim that unlike true cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain no carcinogens. Why then, should the FDA be reluctant to allow the sale of e-cigarettes in the U.S.?

Aggressive Efforts

According to the federal judge who allowed the ban to be lifted, Judge Leon, the reluctance of the FDA to allow e-cigarettes to be sold stems from the desire to label all tobacco by-products as either drugs or devices. "This case appears to be yet another example of FDA's aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices," wrote Judge Leon in his decision.

The year 2009 saw some landmark tobacco legislation which, according to Judge Leon, will allow the Food and Drug Administration's tobacco division to regulate both the contents and advertising techniques of e-cigarettes as it has done for other, more commonly used tobacco products. Despite their ability to alter contents or change the marketing schemes of e-cigarettes, the agency still does not have the right to place a ban on these quit-smoking aids, ruled the judge.

But the FDA isn't taking the judge's decision lying down: "The public health issues surrounding electronic cigarettes are of serious concern to the F.D.A. The agency is reviewing Judge Leon's opinion and will decide the appropriate action to take."

Chinese Claims

The FDA may be right to be concerned about the safety of e-cigarettes. But if e-cigarettes might be found to contain no harmful carcinogens as the Chinese claim, why has the FDA not initiated a study to confirm or disprove the safety of this product? Isn't it just possible that e-cigarettes might help millions of Americans to avoid cancer?

But until the FDA has the final word, potential quitters have one more aid on their side in the battle against nicotine, thanks to Judge Leon: e-cigarettes.