The Food and Drug Administration just made it clear that it cannot tell the difference between eggplants and tobacco leaves. It has assumed control over nicotine that does not come from tobacco but rather is derived from vegetables or created in labs.
This development is part of the continued fallout over the FDA’s 499-page “deeming regs,” which brought e-cigarettes, e-liquid, and devices used for vaping under its tobacco-control authority.
Boston University professor Michael Siegel submitted a simple question to the FDA: “Are e-cigs that do not contain nicotine (or any other tobacco extracts) also covered by the FDA deeming regulations? If so, will they also require pre-market approval like products that do contain nicotine?”
In a drawn-out response posted July 25, the FDA wrote that it does indeed have regulatory power over e-liquid that is not derived from tobacco. This attempts to clarify the FDA’s regulations, but all it does is reiterate that the FDA is waging a war on both orally inhaled nicotine and nicotine-free e-liquid — not tobacco.
Nicotine is present in many foods that humans eat (including eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes), and it can be created in a lab. Some e-liquid companies are already selling synthetic, tobacco-free nicotine. While nicotine is addictive, it is uncontroversial that the carcinogens and toxins released from burning cigarettes are what kills smokers. The FDA even admitted this much by stating in its “deeming regs” that nicotine exposure is “not responsible for the high prevalence of tobacco-related death and disease in this country.”
E-liquid does not burn, nor does it contain the vast majority of dangerous toxins found in cigarettes. This is why the British Royal College of Physicians found that vaping e-liquid is 95 percent safer than smoking cigarettes.