Monday, January 24, 2022

Facts About Safer Smoke-Free Products Are “Somewhere,” But Not at the FDA


I recently came upon the FDA website “Nicotine is Why Tobacco Products Are Addictive.”  The section “What Makes Tobacco Use Harmful” starts with partially truthful information: “Nicotine is what keeps people using tobacco products. However, it’s the thousands of chemicals contained in tobacco and tobacco smoke that make tobacco use so deadly.” [emphasis in original].

That’s not too bad, although agency officials know that the thousands of deadly chemicals are present only in smoke, not tobacco.  Then they get more specific. 

“Combustible products, or products that burn tobacco, are the most harmful. An example of a combustible product is cigarettes, which deliver more than 7,000 chemicals along with nicotine that makes it hard to quit.

“FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as gums and lozenges, are the least harmful.”

Then it gets awful, as the guidance turns to noncombustible, or smoke-free tobacco products.

“Noncombustible products, such as heat-not-burn tobacco products, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes, fall somewhere in between combustible products and NRTs.”


The FDA has hundreds of scientists on staff and has funded research by thousands more at universities across America.  This federal agency is responsible for regulating the entire tobacco industry, and it sets precedents for tobacco regulation worldwide.  It claims to act only on the basis of hard science, yet it feigns ignorance about where the risks fall for smoke-free products.

This farcical position is undermined elsewhere on the webpage where the agency acknowledges that “many studies suggest e-cigarettes and noncombustible tobacco products may be less harmful than combustible cigarettes.” 

Those studies do more than suggest.  Britain’s Royal College of Physicians has stated for years that smoke-free products are at least 95% less hazardous than cigarettes – a fact that anti-tobacco zealots consistently ignore.  The FDA’s response is always “more research is needed,” though for this agency, there will never be enough.  Regulators know the facts, but they refuse to share them with smokers and their loved ones as smoker deaths continue to mount.



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