My letter to the FDA...
by, 05-16-2009 at 11:13 PM (827 Views)
As an extension of the letter I sent in response to the Today Show and their story on the E-Cigarette, I have sent a letter to Janet Woodcock (Janet.Woodcock@fda.hhs.gov) and Mary Hitch (Mary.Hitch@fda.hhs.gov) of the FDA, as well as several Senators on the HELP Committee. While some of the text is borrowed from my previous letter, I believe it encapsulates my position on why the FDA should have a more even-tempered response to the device. Here is the letter as it was sent:
Please let me know your feelings, both positive and negative, on this letter in the comments below. And thanks for reading.Recently, there has been a flurry of interest and debate on the usage of the Electronic Cigarette, or E-Cigarette, by citizens of the United States. The FDA has also recently imposed a restriction of the import of the devices into the country based on several criteria, some of which are the classification that the E-Cigarette is an unapproved drug delivery device, the device is being advertised as a smoking cessation device, and the lack of long-term study of the effects of using the E-Cigarette. And while I do agree that there does need to be studies performed on this device, as I do many items sold in the free market, I believe any regulation that bans this deviceís import and usage by citizens of the United States is premature, misguided, and potentially life-threatening to users of the device who will more than likely return to traditional tobacco cigarettes as a result of no longer being able to purchase Electronic Cigarette supplies. So I feel that it is important that you understand and hear at the very least my reasons for becoming a user, and now advocate, of the Electronic Cigarette.
Iíve been an E-Cigarette user for 30 days. For those 30 days, I have not smoked a single tobacco cigarette. Iím breathing a lot better, Iím coughing much less than I ever did since I began smoking at age 18. I just turned 37 eight days ago. During the period that I smoked regular tobacco cigarettes, the longest I ever went without lighting up was 2 days. And it was the most hellish 2 days I ever spent.
Iíve tried quitting countless times in the past, and it always failed. Gum, lozenges, patches, pills, you name it, and Iíve tried it. Itís my firm belief that there are more addictive qualities to smoking than just nicotine. You are also inhaling many additives to the tobacco, and I do believe that some of them contribute to the addictive nature of cigarettes. The third addictive quality, to me, is the act, the ritual of smoking. Those three things, to me, help to make smoking tobacco cigarettes one of the most difficult addictions to break, and is the reason that every smoking cessation product on the market has a 95% failure rate with smokers trying to kick the habit.
What the electronic cigarette has done for me is allow me to kick one part of my smoking addiction immediately, the additives that I believe contribute to my addiction to tobacco cigarette smoking. From the first use of my e-cig, I am no longer breathing in the tar, carcinogens from combustion, carbon monoxide, or additive chemicals that are present in tobacco cigarettes. The act of Ďsmokingí, or as I refer to it, vaping my e-cig continues to allow me to participate in the ritual act of smoking, and Iím still getting that dose of nicotine that my body feels like it needs. Over the past 30 days, Iíve also taken steps to reduce my intake of nicotine, as well. Iíve stepped down from 24 mg per ml of nicotine in the solution I use to 10 mg per ml of nicotine, and plan to completely remove nicotine from the solution I use to Ďsmokeí in the next 30-45 days.
Which, of course, leaves me with my last Ďaddictioní, the physical act of smoking. Itís no lie, I love to smoke. I think most smokers will agree with that statement. The whole act of smoking is very enjoyable to me. I did about 6 months of research on the electronic cigarette before I committed to purchasing my first starter kit. The ingredients of the nicotine solution (propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, flavoring, distilled water) are all approved by the FDA to be used for both human consumption and for medical/pharmaceutical usage. And if nicotine, in these dosages, are truly dangerous to humans for long term usage, then I would certainly hope that our government at some point over the last few centuries would have banned its use. When I cut out the nicotine from my solution, then I have no problems continuing use of a product that I feel, through my own research, that is a much safer smoking device than tobacco cigarettes could ever be.
In my quest to rid myself of the habit of tobacco smoking, my wife, who was also a long-time smoker since the age of 18, has now been able to successfully quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes after seeing the success I enjoyed through my use of this product.
I do firmly believe that studies need to be performed on the long-term effects of inhaling the vaporized nicotine solution from an Electronic Cigarette, and indeed, some of these studies have already begun here in the US, and in other countries, as well. But in the interim, wouldnít it make more sense to allow citizens of the United States the choice of using these products, and not continuing the destructive, poisoning effects of smoking tobacco products, while these studies move forward? Can it not be determined by the ingredient list of the nicotine solution that those ingredients, if inhaled as a vapor, pose significantly less risk than the smoke from a traditional tobacco cigarette? Havenít the usage of those ingredients been determined by the FDA already to be generally regarded as safe for human use?
I am also not advocating this device as a smoking cessation device. Although I, and my wife and countless others, have been able to use this device to successfully stop smoking tobacco cigarettes, there are also many who see this device as a method of continuing to enjoy the recreational usage of while both maintaining the enjoyment of the act of smoking and eliminating the additives and carcinogens of tobacco smoke.
And my voice is not the only one crying out for the FDA and the US Government to allow us to continue using this product. There have been many stories of the benefits of this product to smokers around the country told through a petition to allow the continued use and importation of the Electronic Cigarette at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/kee...ttes-available, and these stories show the true impact this product has had on their lives. Of the people that I have encountered in my personal life over the last 30 days, from family to friends to co-workers and even strangers on the street, when I show them the device, what it contains, how it works, and what I have experienced since beginning usage of the Electronic Cigarette, I have heard nothing but positive comments, congratulations on cutting tobacco out of my life, and requests for where they can get more information on the device. And if any of those people are smokers, and have turned to the Electronic Cigarette to curb their dependence on tobacco smoking, then I feel like I have done a very good thing for that person.
So please, hear me and the countless other Electronic Cigarette users in the United States when we ask that you lift your importation ban on the E-Cigarette and allow us to continue usage of a product that give us a vastly improved quality of life.
Thank you for your time, and if you feel compelled to contact me for more information about myself or for more information on why I believe the Electronic Cigarette should remain available to the American public, please feel free to respond to this email, and I can provide more personal contact information for myself.