The struggle is real. E-cigarettes have been gaining in popularity, but there are still a number of mysteries and myths surrounding these devices. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently issued a ruling that brings previously unregulated e-cigarettes under FDA authority. Here are the top three challenges that will need to be addressed as part of the new regulations.
Challenge 1: E-cigarettes are believed to be safer than traditional cigarettes.
The tobacco used in traditional cigarettes is understood to be a carcinogen. Because tobacco is not found in e-cigarettes, advocates claim that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative. Supporters also say e-cigarettes are helping many traditional smokers quit.
Challenge 2: No definitive answers.
There are hundreds of studies and decades of research on tobacco and combustible cigarettes. That's why most U.S. citizens understand and acknowledge that smoking causes cancer, heart disease and lung disease. By comparison, research on e-cigarettes is very much in its infancy.
Challenge 3: Too many variations.
A 2014 study identified more than 460 brands and nearly 7,800 flavors of e-cigarettes, and found that 10 brands and 240 flavors were being introduced each month. These variations complicate research and are an obstacle to definitively answering questions.
Learn more about the challenges ahead in this Health Affairs blog post from Sudip Parikh, General Manager of Battelle's Health & Consumer Solutions business.