This announcement sets in play a lengthy and detailed regulation-making process, which will involve both public and stakeholder input before any solid measures come into effect.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, a vaping advocate has thrown his regulatory might towards e-cigarettes as a means to support public health harm reduction. Commissioner Gottlieb said in the announcement "Nicotine itself is not responsible for the cancer, the lung disease and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. It's the other chemical compounds in tobacco and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire that directly cause illness and death."
One of the key regulatory changes is to give e-cigarette manufacturers more time to submit applications to the FDA for new vaping devices, moving the deadline to August 2022. This extra time should support device innovation and consumer lead design to improve and evolve the nicotine delivery systems.
News of the FDA’s announcement sent shares of major tobacco companies in the United States and UK lower in heavy trading volume with the world's biggest producers losing around $26 billion of market value.
The announcement shakes up a debate among public health advocates as to whether e-cigarettes represent a health risk or potential benefit.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the FDA's proposal "represents a bold and comprehensive vision with the potential to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and death."
The FDA will also consider regulating child-appealing e-liquid flavours for use in e-cigarettes and possibly ban menthol in all tobacco products. There is much debate globally about the sale of flavours that may attract children but to date there is no evidence to suggest they attract the youth.
Watch the Video: FDA Centre For Tobacco Announcement
Further reading and analysis of the FDA announcement