On November 19th, the American Council on Science and Health met with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs group to discuss sensible regulations related to the FDA's new authority over tobacco products like cigars, pipes and also tobacco substitutes like e-cigarettes, which are also deemed to be in the group though they are not tobacco (it's a nuanced point - there is no commercially viable way to create nicotine without tobacco.)

The administration needs to determine how that would impact business and that is outside the domain of the Council, but they also want to make sure that the smoking curve continues downward. No one knows how many people are really helped by patches, gums, e-cigarettes or even hypnosis, all we know is what people say worked, and it is throwing out the baby with the bathwater to be too heavy on regulation to protect e-cigarette users while removing e-cigarettes from the market.

The Obama administration is to be applauded for taking a thoughtful, measured approach to this so our recommendation was specific. The FDA got this authority in 2009 and created a substantial equivalence date of 2007, but a lot has changed since then in the technology. So the Council's recommendation was to create a more recent date, and the one that makes the most sense is the date the regulations take effect.