FDA Moves Closer to Regulating E-Cigarettes, and Government Errs on Palcohol Approval
Changes in alcohol and tobacco laws are making headlines
They heard me! They heard me! In my last post about E-Cigarettes, my last line was “Let’s hope that the FDA gets busy.” By now you’ve probably read that the organization has proposed rules. At the end of April The New York Times reported that the FDA strongly suggested that ecigs can’t be sold to minors and that producers must register with the group and reveal their manufacturing processes.
When you read the articles that have proliferated on ecigs in the last few months, you almost can’t help feeling that this is one of the most controversial health issues of the last few years, right up there with (or a close second to) the legalization of marijuana.
They’re dangerous, but less dangerous than cancer-causing cigarettes? (Bloomberg Businessweek warns that we don’t know the long-term health consequences.) They promote cigarette smoking among young people? The flavorings make them deceptive? On the other hand, several people have said that ecigs have helped them stop smoking—and the Times article had a great testimonial from one of them.
Sales may reach as high as $1.5 billion, this year, according to Bloomberg, and the industry is in full swing in Oklahoma, which now has 300 vaping shops. There are still several things to be decided, if I have this right. A total ban on indoor smoking and whether or not to levy excise taxes. Before I leave this subject, NBC has a succinct take, as does ABCNews, with 5 Things You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes.
Do we really need powdered alcohol?
In other April news, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (www.ttb.gov) announced that it had approved powdered alcohol in error. Did you catch that this was a product sold in the 1970s? Too much. Today’s flavors include vodka, rum, Lemon Drop, Mojito, Margaria, and Cosmopolitan.
It looks, from a FOXNews article, like the TTB issued label approval, but then a spokesperson from Palcohol’s parent company, Lipsmark, said it was told there was a discrepancy on how much powder is in a bag, or “fill level,” and that it will resubmit fill levels.
Palcohol is such a huge issue for our country that it will take a separate post to fully cover this. But for now, what will it mean for underage drinking? Will teens be able to carry powdered alcohol into proms, for example? And what about carrying it into drug treatment centers? Sporting events where it has been banned? Nursing homes? What about people who adulterate the product and sell it to minors for a profit? Will it become another item for the black market? How much harder will it be to treat people who suffer from alcoholism when it’s so easy to hide? Will it turn more people to substance abuse?
I’ll end with this: Seeing as how I somehow have a direct line to the FDA, let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to talk to them about for you.