Toward a Middle Ground in Regulating E-cigarettes

From: RegBlog | Penn Program on Regulation

Should e-cigarettes be regulated? If so, how should they be regulated? Public health experts are divided on these issues. Some argue for a soft approach, lest regulations impede the potential of e-cigarettes to allow heavy smokers to cease smoking. Other experts call for stricter regulations or banning e-cigarettes altogether, claiming that e-cigarettes pose significant health risks, including the risk of hooking young people on nicotine.

A recent article by Professor Eric N. Lindblom of Georgetown University charts a middle ground: e-cigarette regulation should impose harm-reducing requirements on products and limits on advertising, but e-cigarette sales should still be allowed on a limited basis. According to Lindblom, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) possesses the authority to take this approach, which would help smokers cease smoking without “causing any offsetting public health harms.”

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