FDA Ban on Flavored E-Cigarette Sales Will Put Lives at Risk

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The FDA is expected to impose imminent new restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes by convenience stores, gas stations, and online, according to news reports. Competitive Enterprise Institute consumer policy expert Michelle Minton criticized the move, because it needlessly makes it more difficult for older and poorer smokers – the people most likely to purchase cigarettes or e-cigarettes at local, convenient locations — to switch to a far lower-risk product:

“If the FDA bans or restricts e-cigarette sales in easily accessible places like gas stations and convenience stores, that is the sort of regulation that will hurt older and lower-income smokers more than anyone.

“While traditional cigarettes remain conveniently accessible, if heavily taxed, the FDA’s action erects new barriers to smokers obtaining harm-reducing alternatives. It simply means that fewer smokers will switch and, unfortunately, may mean an increase in smoking-related illness. This hasty, ill-considered action seems motivated more by politics than scientific evidence, sound policy, or a desire to actually save lives.”

Minton, a CEI senior fellow, has commented extensively on e-cigarette policy. See:

5 Facts about Vapes that Media and Activists Don’t Want You to Know

For Sake of Public Health, FDA Should Not Ban E-cigarette Flavors

CEI Comments on the Regulation of Flavors in Tobacco Products

One Year Later, Federal Plan on Tobacco Harm Reduction Needs Improvement