Apr 09

Nicotine Poisoning Scares; a Promotional Scam to Aid the FDA

Last updated on December 15th, 2015 at 11:25 am

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Slick Promotional Scare Tactics About Nicotine Poisonings Set a Precedent for Upcoming FDA E-Cigarette Regulations

-E-Cigarette News Editorial

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Promotion is a powerful advertising tool. I know because I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years. Unfortunately, and as most of us know, advertising and promotion can easily direct a heard of listeners into agreement by using clever wording and repetition.

Such is the case with the anti-ecigarette campaign. Rather than name the long list of agencies and corporations perpetrating this movement, I’ll stick to commenting on my interpretation of the main objectives of the crusade which upon examination, goes beyond protecting the public from the supposed evils of electronic cigarettes.

Imminent FDA Regulations 

The FDA is under pressure to regulate electronic cigarettes. As a government agency, its members are subject to the coercive forces of political lobbyist, but they also gain direction from public sentiment worldwide.

In February 2014 the European Parliament passed a Tobacco Directive to the EU that would regulate the nicotine concentration in electronic cigarette e-liquids along with bottle and cartridge sizes. Under the guise of public safety, nicotine concentration will not exceed 20 mg/ml. E-liquid bottles will be no larger 10ml.

This ruling has been criticized by prominent scientists, researchers and health organizations as being a clear case of political “overregulation”. They believe the resolutions are unduly strict, are based on unfounded fears rather than scientific evidence and are counter-productive to Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) practices.

According to Dr. Konstantin Farsalinos, one of the most respected experts on nicotine, a pack a day smoker needs at least 24mg/ml to keep them away from cigarettes. What’s more, new scientific findings on the dangers nicotine indicate the drug is nowhere near as harmful as was once suspected.

All news from Europe aside, the FDA must submit its own regulatory terms. I suspect a fair amount of friction would arise from both overseas and at home if they were to impose less stringent regulations than those dictated by the EU.

Although it’s old news and the public has a short memory, the FDA is still smarting from being struck down by a Federal judge in 2010 when they were sued by several e-cigarette companies for stepping outside of their regulatory jurisdiction.

U.S. Anti-E-Cigarette Promotion to the Rescue

Advertising and promotion are most powerful when the public receives a listening before the product enters market. It works the same way with government policy updates. I find it curious that in March 2014, just weeks before the FDA is to release e-cigarette regulations, the news media begins a virulent attack on e-cigarette liquids with stories emerging from the New York Times down to every local podunk TV news report

Children are being “poisoned” by e-liquids!!

The overwhelming number of news articles and reports that include sensational, misleading headlines and scant details indicate that “terror tactics” is the clear directive of this widespread promotional campaign.
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Here Are Some Facts About Nicotine Poisoning
According to articles published by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) no one was actually “poisoned” and the numbers of poisoning “cases” were skewed.

The facts are these: the assembled poisonings seriously harmed no one. The reports, even acknowledged in the CDC’s title, deal with ‘calls to poison centers,’ not actual toxic exposures.

– ASCH April 4, 2014

Another fact that was conveniently not promoted by the general media is that e-liquid poisonings are not even close the number of poisoning cases from other household products – but that’s counter productive to a massive promotional campaign hell bent on obscuring the truth. 

When the FDA does release its regulations on electronic cigarettes, it's likely they will be similar to the edicts set forth by the European Parliament which focus strongly on strict e-liquid regulations.

Here's a comment that may indicate their position on eliquids from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

Our children will be saved from future nicotine poisonings and the FDA will look like heroes. The sad fact is that many smokers who would switch, or have already switched from deadly cigarettes to the safer, electronic versions will return to smoking tobacco.

It’s also likely that overregulation will to lead to more, not fewer cases of e-liquid poisonings. Limiting the nicotine content in e-liquids and e-cigarette cartridges will encourage people to keep more bottles (and smaller sized bottles) of e-liquids around the house. In addition we will likely see the emergence of an e-liquid black market.

If the FDA does over-regulate, one can only hope that the next wave of warnings on how to save our children from poisoning themselves, attacks irresponsible parents rather than life-saving products.


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About the author


Hillary Miles is an Emmy Award winning television producer who contributes to several websites including Cloud NineSavvy Examiner and Best E-Cigarette Guide. A dedicated supporter of electronic cigarettes and the vaping industry, Hillary has been testing and reviewing vaping products for over 8 years.

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