According to the report, among the things studies should look at are whether the product is addictive and whether the components of the product are harmful to health. In addition, these products should be tested on current and former smokers, new smokers, adolescents and groups at high risk for tobacco use.
Tests also have to "evaluate whether this product would draw people to the use of this product who now don't smoke, or who might have quit smoking and would be drawn back into this habit and therefore increase their risk," Henney said. "These products should only be targeted to individuals who absolutely have been unable to stop smoking."
The process should also be transparent, the report stated, with the companies and the FDA making all the data available to the public.
However, Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, doesn't see safety and public health as the driving factors behind the IOM recommendations, but thinks instead it is a conspiracy by tobacco companies, drug companies and the federal government to keep these products off the market.
"I've been fighting this issue for quite some time, but you are fighting much larger groups," he said, noting that electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine without the risk of fire. "It does the same thing as a cigarette, without the 7,000 harmful chemicals and 65 carcinogens."
For more on quitting smoking, visit SmokeFree.gov.
SOURCES: Jane E. Henney, M.D., professor, medicine and public health sciences, University of Cincinnati, Ohio; Ray Story, CEO, Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association; David Abrams, Ph.D., executive director, Schroede
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