FDA Cannot Regulate E-Cigarettes as a Drug, Appeals Court Rules
Smokers of electronic cigarettes, battery-powered tubes that produce a nicotine vapor instead of smoke, can keep on puffing—for now, Bloomberg.com reports. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can regulate how e-cigarettes are marketed—as it can with any tobacco product—it can't restrict their sale or block their import. Two companies sued the agency last year after it cracked down on them and prevented shipments of their e-cigarettes from entering the U.S., claiming violations of federal law. Because the FDA was not the victor, it can now appeal the case to the highest court in the country—and it should, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "This ruling invites the creation of a wild west of products containing highly addictive nicotine, an alarming prospect for public health," the group said in a statement to Bloomberg. The FDA has warned that e-cigarettes, which don't produce the smoke of traditional cigarettes, may still contain toxic ingredients.
The best health advice? Quit smoking altogether. That may even be possible in 30 days, according to Daniel Seidman, a smoking cessation expert and author of Smoke-Free in 30 Days: The Pain-Free, Permanent Way to Quit. Here's an excerpt of his conversation with U.S. News in January.
What does your monthlong program entail, and what makes it unique?
It outlines what to do each day. What we're saying to people is rather than think about this as just being [about] willpower, focus on things you can do each day that will help you change your behavior, change your attitude, [and] use medicine to the greatest effect. It's sort of like playing the piano. Nobody says, "If you have enough willpower, you'll be a good piano player." They say, "Practice." [Quitting] isn't just about being strong. That's sort of a trap that people believe: "If I'm strong, I can do it. If I'm weak, then there's nothing I can do and I just have to smoke." We're saying [that] if you make these efforts and do these exercises and follow these daily recommendations, you can be successful.
I've found that nicotine replacement therapy, if it's used properly, can be extremely helpful to people and be a really good confidence-builder. A lot of people fail [with NRT] because they don't use it correctly. They don't use it in conjunction with making certain important changes in their attitudes and in their behavior, which could make it more effective. [Seidman says he takes no funding from makers of NRT or other stop-smoking products.]
Can people—even hard-core smokers—really quit in 30 days? That sounds awfully quick to be rid of a deeply ingrained habit.
The adjustment period can go on for a long time because what you're really doing is learning how to be comfortable without the cigarettes. We're really trying to prepare people for the long term, as well as get them off to a good start. But [they] have to continue to live that way. We don't want you to be ambushed by these things. We're going to alert you to the things that could be a problem, but you have to continue to use self-awareness as a tool.
So avoiding cigarettes doesn't magically become easy on Day 30?
It's not like the curtain comes down on the Hollywood movie. We wanted to set up a really structured program [so] people would know what to do each day and to get them to a point where they are really confident. Confidence is really important. I've seen people who could barely walk down the street from emphysema, and they couldn't quit. Once they built up their confidence, they were basically fine, and it's really sad that they waited so long to quit.
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