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FDA Estimates Costs of Enjoyment if E-cigarettes Laws Prevent Smoking

Update Date: Jun 02, 2014 10:40 AM EDT

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted a cost-benefit study for e-cigarettes. The health regulators tallied up the pros and cons on consumers' enjoyment levels based on the e-cigarette regulations. The agency concluded that the overall benefits from the new regulations on e-cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and other vapor devices should be cut by 70 percent based on the lost of pleasure for the consumers.

Based on the FDA's calculation, if the latest regulations yielded $100,000 in benefits based on improved life quality, the fact that people would lose satisfaction cuts those benefits down to $30,000 only. Critics of the FDA's cost-benefit study stated that these estimations will make it a lot easier for manufacturers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to create a strong argument against these regulations. Since 1993, U.S. regulators are mandated to provide evidence that their regulations will yield more benefits than costs for the consumers.

"This makes it a lot harder to justify regulations on cost-benefit grounds," said Dr. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and a tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, reported by Reuters. Dr. Glantz is in favor of enforcing tough regulations for e-cigarettes and cigars. "It will undermine anything they [the FDA] try to do about anything."

In a recent study published in Pediatrics, researchers found that TV advertising for e-cigarettes have spiked recently. The team headed by study author Jennifer Duke, a senior research public health analyst with RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C, reported that now, these ads are pitched to roughly 24 million people between the ages of 12 and 24. The team calculated that for the age group of 12 to 17, exposure to e-cigarette ads increased by more than 250 percent from 2011 to 2013. For the same time period, exposure to these ads increased by more than 320 percent for young adults aged 18 to 24.

"I would say that we don't know what exposure to e-cigarettes will do over time," Duke said reported by Philly. "We don't yet know if they are a pathway to use of traditional cigarettes themselves. But we do know the negative effect nicotine has on brain development among youth. So it's a real concern. And given the potential dangers, I certainly think the FDA should regulate images of e-cigarettes on TV and other places where they do advertising, just as they already do for regular cigarettes."

The FDA recently announced that it will ban the sales of e-cigarettes and other products for minors under 18-years-old. However, the agency will not regulate the use of flavors, online sales or advertising methods.

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