- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s almost like the Food and Drug Administration wants to make it harder for people to quit smoking.

On Thursday, the FDA released a draconian rule that will nearly ban electronic cigarettes — what many people have used to help break their nicotine habit of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Thanks to the FDA rule, 90 days from May 10, the vapor cigarette market will be frozen, and then two years after that, 99 percent of its products will be banned because of compliance costs.

According to the rule, the FDA will have to approve all tobacco products not currently regulated, that started being sold in stores after February 2007. The hitch is that the e-cigarette industry was virtually nonexistent before then, so that means all vaping products, in every nicotine level and flavor, will need FDA approval. They also will not be sold to children younger than 18.

Each application could cost $1 million or more, said Gregory Conley, a longtime vaping advocate.

“FDA on adults and flavors — enjoy them for the next two years, then the [application] process will ban 99-plus percent of you,” Mr. Conley said.

Why the regulations? Health concerns.

Ellen Hahn, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and co-chair of the UK Tobacco-Free Task Force, told USA Today, the new rule is a good first step toward controlling e-cigarettes.

“From a health perspective, to reduce the social acceptance of them is good because frankly, it’s the wild, wild West out there,” she told the paper. “Vape stores are everywhere.”

Because nothing makes the heart grow fonder than total prohibition.

Although the nicotine levels in vaping can be much less than in traditional tobacco cigarettes, Ms. Hahn is worried they can serve as a gateway to kids developing a smoking habit. Never mind that many tobacco cigarette smokers use vaping as a way to break their habit.

“The vaping advocates I know are generally vaping advocates because it helped them quit smoking,” Kevin Glass, a policy director at the The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, wrote on Twitter in reaction to the ruling.

Indeed.

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