Statement of Jeff Stier on FDA’s Announcement on E-Cigarette Regulations

stier_smWashington, D.C. – National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier has released the following statement regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement today on e-cigarettes:

I’m pleased that the FDA has finally released a blueprint for regulations of E-cigarettes; however I’m very concerned about how the FDA will implement these regulations.

Essentially what the FDA has done is tap e-cigs on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, we now regulate you.’

While the new rules reportedly have some reasonable rules, such as a ban on the sale to minors, the FDA is describing the new regulations as ‘foundational.’

The devil will be in the details of future regulatory decisions. If the regulations are too heavy-handed, they’ll have the deadly effect of preventing smokers from quitting by switching to these dramatically less harmful alternatives.

I am also concerned that, like most regulatory schemes, the expensive and burdensome requirements will heavily favor big companies at the expense of smaller innovative ones, thus slowing product improvements that would make e-cigarettes a more appealing alternative to even the most addicted smokers.

One silver lining: some city and state legislatures have been using the lack of federal regulations as an excuse to institute their own draconian regulations, from public use bans to outright bans on flavored e-liquid. It will be harder to justify those bans now that the FDA is asserting federal oversight.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified before states and localities in recent months about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. He has said, “The vast majority of those who purchase e-cigarettes are adult smokers trying to quit, so discouraging the use of e-cigarettes actually incentivizes smokers to continue smoking.”

Stier is hopeful that as more elected officials realize the public health benefits of allowing the use of e-cigarettes, the more they will oppose policies, including e-cigarette bans and high excise taxes on e-cigarettes, that discourage people from using them to quit smoking tobacco.

Stier has recently testified about e-cigarette regulation before the New York, Los Angeles and San Diego City Councils, submitted testimony to the Oklahoma and Rhode Island legislatures and has met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue, among other activities.

Among many media appearances, Stier recently debated Dr. John Pierce of the University of California at San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center in a program moderated by Allison St. John on KPBS-TV in San Diego. That debate, available on YouTube here, illuminates many of the issues currently surrounding the regulation and safety of e-cigarettes, and their use as an aid for those who want to quit smoking tobacco.

Stier has written about the topic for the New York Post, the Huffington Post, the Des Moines Register, and in other publications.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.

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