FDA E-Cig Regulations Harm Innovation, Public Health

Groups File in Support of Challenge to Deeming Rule

TechFreedom and the National Center for Public Policy Research filed an amicus brief yesterday in support of the challenge to the FDA’s new regulation of e-cigs filed by Nicopure Labs, maker of e-cigarette liquid.

In May, the FDA finalized its Deeming Rule regulations, which would force e-cig manufacturers to undergo an expensive and time-consuming premarket tobacco application process unless their products were on the market — or substantially equivalent to a product on the market — prior to the “predicate date” of February 15, 2007, long before modern e-cigs were introduced. The high cost of the application process means most e-cig businesses will be forced to shut down, eliminating dramatically safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes. That will leave smokers with fewer options to compete against the most harmful form of nicotine consumption, combustible tobacco.

The brief concludes:

The FDA’s Deeming Rule fails to consider the scientific evidence readily available to the agency regarding the safety and the public health benefits of e-cigarettes. The Deeming Rule is improper under the APA not merely because it fails any manner of scientific analysis, and is therefore arbitrary and capricious, but also because it is in direct conflict with Congress’s intent to prevent smoking and aid cessation through the [Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control] Act.

This is an absurd way to regulate new technology,” said Evan Swarztrauber, Communications Director at TechFreedom. “The e-cig industry looks nothing like it did in 2007, and setting the most primitive products as a baseline for regulatory approval is the best way to stifle innovation. The FDA’s obsession with perfect safety will deny Americans what is obviously a safer technology for consuming nicotine — 95% safer than smoking tobacco, according to Public Health England. The FDA has simply ignored such data, giving essentially zero weight to the benefits for smokers and the general public.”

Instead of developing science-based standards that would reduce harm, the FDA directly admitted it didn’t understand or evaluate the potential benefits or harms of e-cigarettes,” said Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Without that science, it relied on the ‘precautionary principle’ standard, in direct conflict with the evidence-based standard required by Congress.”

Regulations should be promulgated within the constraints of the rule of law, sound policy, and proportionality,” said Daniel Suraci, an attorney working pro bono on behalf of NCPPR. “The FDA’s heavy-handed approach to e-cigarettes is an affront to smart governance as the regulations are not only in direct contradiction of the scientific evidence showing the public health benefits of vaping, but also compel consumer use and public exposure to cancer-causing tobacco products.”

We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org or jkent@nationalcenter.org.

About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.

About the National Center for Public Policy Research:

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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