WASHINGTON (Nov. 21, 2013) — The Food and Drug Administration and other public health authorities should look to the promise of e-cigarettes as a vehicle for tobacco harm reduction, according to a new paper from the R Street Institute.

Authored by R Street Senior Fellow Dr. Joel Nitzkin, former co-chair of the American Association of Public Health Physicians’ Tobacco Control Task Force, the paper also calls on the public health community to reconsider objections to harm reduction approaches light of overwhelming literature establishing that smoke-free tobacco products present far less risk of potentially fatal tobacco-attributable illness than cigarettes.

“Many in the public health community seem unaware of the research findings demonstrating the potential public health benefits of a THR initiative,” Dr. Nitzkin writes. “They seem unaware of the research findings demonstrating both the relative safety and unattractiveness to non-smokers of e-cigarettes. This paper is intended to help close these gaps.”

As the FDA considers whether to regulate e-cigarettes, Dr. Nitzkin argued in favor of regulation of the quality of e-cigarette manufacture and marketing, but against removing e-cigarettes from the market or stifling continuing product improvement.

“The alternative to use of e-cigarettes is not abstention from tobacco use, but continuation of cigarette use,” Dr. Nitzkin wrote. “Misrepresenting e-cigarettes has the practical effect of reinforcing tobacco cigarettes as the dominant product for nicotine consumption. It does nothing to reduce teen initiation of tobacco/nicotine products. It protects cigarettes from competition from these much less-hazardous products.”

The full paper can be found at:


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