FDA ruling on e-cigarettes: U-M experts available

May 5, 2016
Written By:
Laurel Thomas


The University of Michigan has experts who can address today’s FDA decision on regulation of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, has conducted research on smoking and e-cigarettes, and has developed simulation models to evaluate the impact of screening and tobacco control on lung cancer risk. His research interest is in cancer risk assessment and the analysis of cancer epidemiology data using mechanistic models of carcinogenesis.

“This is welcome news,” he said. “Limiting youth access to e-cigarettes and other nicotine and tobacco products is critical to reduce their health impacts. FDA’s announcement is a step in the right direction.”

Contact: 734-763-1946, rmeza@umich.edu

Richard Miech is the senior investigator of U-M’s Monitoring the Future, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

“These rules have been a long time coming and are welcome,” he said. “Currently, customers have no way to know what chemicals are in the vapor they inhale from e-cigarettes. The requirement for e-cigarette companies to provide an accurate and detailed accounting of the ingredients in their products is an important step forward to protect consumers.

“The ban on sales to youth under age 18 will hopefully slow down the rapid growth of e-cigarette use among youth. The tried and true way to really make a dent in the use of tobacco products among youth is to prohibit the use of flavorings that specifically target children, such as bubble gum and chocolate cream. Ideally, such prohibitions will come in the future.”

Contact: 734-647-1343, ramiech@umich.edu

Clifford Douglas, director of the U-M Tobacco Research Network and adjunct professor of health management and policy at the U-M School of Public Health, has written and spoken extensively about the benefits of e-cigarette regulation. His research has focused on policies related to smoking in workplaces and public places, and on regulation of tobacco products and their marketing.

“It is very important that the FDA decided to regulate tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah,” he said. “It is also encouraging that, as part of its action, the FDA will regulate so-called premium cigars as these products pose no less health risk than other cigars.

“This final regulation puts several strong provisions in place that will serve to protect the public health and rein in a predatory industry. Tobacco companies can no longer deceive the public with unproven health claims, such as ‘light’ or ‘mild,’ or hand out free samples of their products. The regulation also prevents the industry from using delays in premarket application reviews to keep their products on the market indefinitely without a marketing order from FDA.

“Additionally, the industry is required to place warning labels on their products and advertisements, and retailers may no longer sell any tobacco products to those under the age of 18. These provisions, among others in effect as of today, are critical for keeping tobacco products out of the hands of kids and helping people quit. It is essential that the FDA now proceed to also restrict the aggressive marketing targeted at children and other vulnerable populations and prohibit the use of flavorings in all tobacco products.”

Contact: 734-545-5331, cdoug@umich.edu