WSJ: FDA Considering Total Online Sales Ban For E-Cigs
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is debating a total ban of electronic cigarette sales online. The ban is being spun as a way to prevent electronic cigarettes from finding their way into the hands of minors.
The FDA has been looking for ways to slow down the electronic cigarette market since it came to the U.S. It started with banning the product outright, but courts ruled against this action. Recent work to qualify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products has also been running into difficulties. This may just be the best way the FDA can hurt the largest portion of the market with the least amount of resistance.
The FDA still argues that no real studies have determined the health effect of electronic cigarettes. That’s largely false as more than 40 studies now have shown e-cigs to be fairly benign.
Online sales of tobacco cigarettes have been effectively banned for years. This does little to curb the actual smoking epidemic, and only marginalizes or totally kills the smaller companies that can’t afford brick and mortar store distribution.
There’s also very little evidence that online sales actually contributed significantly to underage smoking. The reality is that most minors obtain cigarettes from older friends or inattentive store clerks.