tv Inside Story Al Jazeera April 24, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
>> isn't that amazing. online to help others. all right, appreciate it. thank you. >> that's our news hour, tony harris in new york city, inside story is next on al jazeera america. for a long time these e cigarettes existed in a very lightly regulated world. now the fda is proposing new rules. it's the inside story. does a cigarette stop
being a cigarette when you put the letter e in front of it? for a while, this fast growing industry has threaded the needle escape as lot of the restrictions that have driven down cigarette smoking. along with reigning in the sales of electronic cigarettes which deliver nicotine to the user or vapor without burning tobacco. the fda wants to put new rules into place. i believe colluding cigars and nicotine jells. any new rule from a washington regulator, isn't as simple as that. there's bound to be push back from conservatives who resent the reach of government, into personal habits and decisions. and a display of muscle from the tobacco products industry, which is also invested in electronic cigarettes. that's this time on inside story, here is where things stand now. >> vain shops are gaining popularity.
much of the vapors use. e cigarettes began as a niche industry less nan a decade ago, today the smokeless tobacco product is skyrocketing into more than 200 brands millions of users, and $2 billion in sales. an e cigarette is a battery operated device, which uses heat to turn a liquid containing nicotine into a vapor. now the government is step inning to regulate the market. the food and drug administration has issued several proposals setting a foundation, as well as cigars, pipe tobacco, and several other alternatives to cigarette smoking. currently, the fda only regulates cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and roll your own. manufacturers would have to disclose all the ingredients used in it.
the fda wants to end vending machine sales. and if manufacturers are going to claim their product is a safe ailing terntive to smoking, they will have to prove safety with scientific evidence. >> for me it did change. i was a pack a day smoker, and it was the effects of smoking were persistent time, and the coughing and the general feeling not well. this changes so much about everything in your life. >> the blue e cigs there's no tobacco smoke. >> the e cigarette industry is marketing itself as a cleaner, tar free product, that's more appealing and socially acceptable. note only did i feel better about myself, i felt the feeling to have a cigarette without the guilty. >> despite the research into e cigarettes as a whole, there are conflicting reports as to theirth cassie in helping quit. in fact, some see them as
a potential gate way for young people to tobacco use. and as yet, there's little science that determines the health effect of e cigarette use. >> overwhelmingly, this product, these e cigarettes, are appealing to children. to young people. first, they market them in flavors that adults aren't likely to buy. all of these are designed to lure kids. into this product. >> so far, the fdi proposal would not restrict flavored e cigarettes. but today's actions by the fda begin a process that could lead to further restrictions upon the products. what is critical is for the fda to act very quickly, especially by restricting marketing and sweetney involves that appeal to kids. and that's the biggest gap in this rule. s that it doesn't address marketing and flavoring,
of e cigarettes and cigars that have really exploded in the end that we think appeal to kids. >> the center report the use of e cigarettes among high school students has more than doubled. in 2012, they say 10% of teenagers 1.7 million, are lighting up electronically. the fda proposal does not include any regulations for advertising. which today comes in t.v. ads, featuring hollywood pitchman. >> for us smokers times have changed. >> it harkens back to the early days of television, when smoking was embraced and ads like these, were ubiquitous. >> come to where the flavor is, come to marlboro country. >> but all that began to change with the first surgeon generals report on the health dangers of smoking 50 years ago. t.v. advertising was
banned in 1970, and in the years since, a grin nation of education, legislation, and litigation, have cut snowing rates behalf. >> oh, that is really good. >> vaining is not the same as smoking tobacco, but since they came on the market it's been a free for all. is it addictive. does it lead to smoking or help you stop? is it bad for you, or isn't it. that will be a 70 day comment period before the fd action makes final changes. and that process could take mondays. one way or another, the e cigarette enters a new phase, with the government now poised to take authority over a billion dollars business. high powers lobbying and politics to converge, and reshape the saying landscape. putting new regulations on e cigarettes into place, may take a while.
so we are beginning this conversation just as the american public begins it's conversation. he is the author of golden holocaust, origins of the cigarette catastrophe. here in our washington studio, jennifer pierson a research investigator at leg citizen institute for tobacco research, and from amster bam, ray story. eo and founder of the tobacco vapor electronic cigarette association. good to have you with us. ray story, let me start with you. sometimes in conversation, it's talked of one way, sometimes another. is an e cigarette a tobacco product? >> absolutely. the e cigarette is a tobacco product, due to the fact that anything teen derived from the stem plant, is therefore deemed a tobacco product. and that's why the e
cigarette in 2010 was clearly put on the d.f.a.'s control. >> when you saw these latest proposals on electronic nicotine delivery products. various ones. what was your first reaction? that could be a deal killer, so i think the regulation is good. age verification, face to face, online, all these safety packaging. ingredients, testing, all that i think the industry applauds. but some other issues
like the equivalentsy, will be an issue. >> that phrase comes up a lot. substantial equivalency. what is it and why is it so important? >> well, thank you. i -- i want to caveat my explanation here, and that i am a scientist and not a lawyer, so i will give you my understanding of a scientist. the idea is that there are certain products that are on the market. at a time that is deemed important to fda for cigarettes i believe it was 27. and that if a product can be allowed on the market, if it is essentially the same, substantially equivalent as what was on the market in 2007 for cigarettes, or for some other date for e cigarettes. i am not quite sure what that will be for e cigarettes. i know the industry is concerned this will mean that some of the products
will be taking off the market. i can't read the fda's mind. >> there have been a lotter of short term reactions to these latest announcements. some come from critics of the new e cigarette industry, saying that the fda's proposals aren't tough enough. what do you make of that? >> well, i think it is true in general. you have to remember that the traditional analog cigarette is probably the most deadly consumer product ever invented by human kind. so the shift over to a less deadly product is probably something we should welcome. the danger is that these products may also be used as bridge products just to keep on smoking. there's also the problem of the ingredients themselves, and i would agree with those that think the regulation doesn't go far enough.
because they are not addressing the ingredients. and it is going to be the ingredients that are the key issue. >> what do you mean? in this case the oil that contains the nicotine? >> well, think about it, you can put basically anything you want into an electronic cigarette. you can put cat urine if you want to, there's no regulation whatsoever, and if we can get some there, or some control then it's -- we will have a changing situation. because until now, you have been able to put basically whatever you want. so there needs to be some safety standards. >> that's one of the disclosures that it looks like is going to be part of this rule making. that people who make these products for vaping, disclose what is is in them. are you at peace with that idea? >> absolutely. understand that we promote regulatory
oversite for these products. we want these products to be consistent. we want them manufactured with the highest regards for standards. known to man kind. that is obviously what we push. i think at that end that responsible oversight is not going to be an issue for anybody. the issues that are going to be a problem is when potentially this market is going to be pushed, by those government bodies that either promote and push this category towards big pharma or towards big tobacco. we want this category to have the ability to survive and to grow over the next several decades. we want to make sure they will be able to be met by those companies currently in business. >> we with will take a short break, and when we with come back, what ray was just talking about, what do big pharma and
and his controversial relationship with hugo chavez >> talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america welcome back to inside story. the food and drug administration is going to start regulating e cigarettes. the proposed rules include banning the sale to minors listing ingredients and proving any claims of reduced risk to health, with scientific evidence. the new rules also are being extended to other previously unregulated products. such as cigars, pipe tobacco, water pipe tobacco, nicotine jells and dissolvables. just before the break, you heard ray talk about regulating through the fda, or regulating -- and pushing this into the arms of big pharma. what are the different avenues that open up here? if we look upon these, or
look upon them like drugs, what's the difference and why is that an important distinction? it is key. it has been known tor a drug for a long time, but it's been totally unregulated. what is now basically happening is the big tobacco companies are buying up these anything teen companies, these e cigarette companies and are moving toward more of a pure drug model, with the theory being we can lose the tar, keep the anything teen, lose the cancer keep the addiction, so it is in a sense becoming more of a pure drug industry. >> and would that create different hurdles, different sets of challenges for the still very young industry, if it was, for instance to make a claim that it helps wean people off of tobacco cigarettes? or moved them away from heavy smoking?
sure, of course that will be what has to be tested. it's not clear whether it will keep people smoking more, or make them smoke less. obviously if the product can get rid of traditional cigarettes that would be fantastic. what remains to be seen is if they act as bridge products to keep people smoking. jennifer pearson, in this proposed rule making, they have banned youth sales, they have gone after free samples, but they haven't touched flavoring and why is that significant? well, what are concerns about, is that flavors might be appealing to youth. so -- these products come in flavors from regular tobacco to men that will, but they also come in a myriad of flavors, peanut butter and jelly. >> fruit flavors.
>> alcohol flavors and while smokers adult smokers might find these to be very attractive, and i'm -- sympathetic to that, i am also concerned these products especially called ehooka which are disposal, that have flavors those are ex-freely likely appealing to youth. that's something we want to nip the bud. that may addict them to nicotine, or act as a gate way. >> you hared talk about bubble gum, and these other flavors as being specifically to get children involved or at least people below 18 involved in using these to make permanent customers out of them. mow is your industry respond?
first of all, i would have to agree some of those could have been picked better. let me state this, that this particular product is not a gate way product for any other top coe product. the e cigarette is out there to take the current tobacco user and provide them a less harmful alternative. let me say you can't take this and put it in a medicinal. i am the one that sued the fda to prove that this was a tobacco product. anything teen is a substance that is very closely retted to caffeine, one hydrogen is what puts those two apart. at the end of the day, if you look at anything teen, although adetective, the product itself doesn't have any farm logical effect. so for a drug, you would
have to alter the function, and b you would have to make a claim. we are not making any claims with with these products. we are stating this product is less harmful. that's not a claim, it is a fact. and that product has the ability to obviously switch people from conventional tobacco to a far less harmful alternative. and that is where it needs to stay. and then obviously we need regulatory oversite, to provide the industry with guidance, so that they have the ability to provide the public with a product that is consistent. and at the end of the day, we want to make sure that it is done with the current industry. and not big pharma or big tobacco taking it over. >> before i move on. you say you don't want it to be a gate way use, you don't want it to be considered a bridge to cigarette and tobacco smoking. who is letting you down,
if 1.7 million teenagers are vaping. is it your retailers? does there have to be more control on that? on the distribution side to make sure that doesn't happen? you have to understand. i sued theda in 2009. we got ur verdict in 2010. it's been four years. four years since that ruling. four years of zero oversight. that is clearly irresponsible. now after a 2412 page document, on proposed rule, we get 75 days to except on it. four years and in 75 days to comment on a propose rule that is very intricate. at the end, if we would have put age verification in place, right after judge leon stated that the fda has authority over tobacco products we wouldn't even be talking
about high school kids utilizing this product. because at is that point in time, it would have been an issue. as 40 attorney general stated they wanted age verification, not just online, but on face to face. we could have started there. >> professor, how about that? the idea that this is the fda's fault, ray story sued them to make this declared a tobacco product, and then they didn't do anything. >> you know tobacco coe should have been regulated in 1950, when it was caused to be causing mass did. the product should have been removed from sale the way it was done. so really, what we are see ising is the beginning of the end of what i would call radical to be coe exceptionalism, where it has been entirely unregulated.
so finally we are starting to see some of these limited. i would agree it is way too slow. >> we with will take a short break, and when we come back, we with will talk about the wrinkles in this regulatory arena, why didn't they go after premium cigars when may went after cheaper cigars? this is inside story. well it's official...
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teenagers vain. including on this edition of our program, we are talking about theda announcement, that the government will begin regulating this market. jennifer, pearson, when you look at these interesting rules. finally bringing in roll your own raw tobacco. regulating cheap cigars and small cigars. what is going on here? >> well, we know there's a little bit of political pressure that's been exerted on fda to exclude premium cigars that's been going on on the hill
for a couple of years. what we are concerned about, is that when you create an exclusion such as not including premium cigars and then the regulation, you create an opportunity for the industry to create products that will justify toe up to the edge of what a premium cigar is. but be used like a little sill gar. cigar. that create as loophole, and a new category of products that will reach the people that we are trying to protect. >> ray story, do you welcome these regulations? because at least gives you clarity and predictable in the years to come as you develop this industry? yeah, the regulation is a lucked site. at the end, it's been four years. the problem is that we are going to find that
regulation will be skewed towards big pharma. understand that prior to my lawsuit, in 2009, they had made this a drug. and a drug deliver ray device. they hadn't checked in on what this did, they just provided this category to big pharma. and you saw that not just in the u.s. but in europe as well. so that is my issue, that those that are currently working within government, and most of them within the fda, are going to be closely tied to big pharma, so these rules are going to be skewed. they are going to make the process available, for this product, but they could have done that already for the last four years. the date, nah we were with talking about, was february in 20 with seven, until march of 2011, where you had the ability to provide the information, to actually get market authorization
from the fda. none of those have been approved. that is an issue. when you have big government, all of a sudden stepping into a sector, that they feel that they need to control, then that's potentially a good thing, as long as there's no overreaching and that is clearly what seems to be the case now. because with the regulation, i think there's a problem with the equivalentsy. >> when you have seen these proposed rules is this a make or break era? both the 75 day comment period, and what comes out of it, a make or break era for a young american industry. will the shape of e cigarettes and electronic anything teen products, really be dictated in the really near future? i think 2003 are in a period of huge transition is. you mentioned cigars which don't cause nearly the harm of cigarettes and then when you think
about electronic cigarettes they don't have is the tar deliveries that regular cigarettes. we have is to remember we have had the most deadly products being the ones that are most widely used. that's going to save millions of lives. >> professor robert proctor, at stanford, ray story joins us from amsterdam, jennifer makeson was here with with me in washington, thank you all. very interesting conversation, that brynnstous the end of this edition of inside story. thank you for being with us, the program may be over, but the conversation continues. we with want to hear what you think about the issues raised on this or any days program. log on to our facebook page, or send us your thoughts on twitter. ournd hale is aj inside story am. or you can reach me directly at ray swarez news. we with will see you next time for inside story, in washington, i'm ray swarez.
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