Today’s Gothamist discusses Reynolds’ new e-cigarette, Vuse, and the uncertain regulatory environment for these products. The piece quotes me:
Jeff Stier, who studies public health issues for The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, said he was impressed with the unveiling but acknowledged that it was “optimistic” of the Reynolds executives to think their product would escape FDA regulation relatively unscathed.
“Consumer demand drives innovation, but e-cigs are like a moving target—you want to meet consumer demand, but we just don’t know what the FDA will do. We’re in uncharted territory.” Stier, whose think tank receives a small portion of its funding from Reynolds and other large tobacco companies, doesn’t buy the argument that e-cigarettes could potentially start a whole new nicotine culture with kids who see smoke and think “cool.”
“The irony is that a tobacco company is selling a product that could help more people effectively quit, and the government is standing in the way,” Stier says, referencing the inability of e-cig companies to extoll the benefits of electronic cigarettes over traditional ones. “I believe the marketplace can do a better job than the government on the issue of public health.”