US approves E-cigarette marketing as Kenya debates approach

This marks the first set of electronic nicotine delivery system products ever to be authorized by the FDA.

In Summary

• The FDA considered the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and non-users of tobacco products, and importantly, youth.

• Health CAS, Mercy Mwangangi, said that Kenya is yet to review its stand on nicotine pouches in the market, adding that the Government is not going to change its stance.

Vaping
Vaping
Image: FILE

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it has authorized the marketing of three new e-cigarette products.

This marks the first set of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products ever to be authorized by the FDA.

In a statement, the FDA stated that it considered the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and non-users of tobacco products, and importantly, youth.

This included a review of available data on the likelihood of use of the product by young people.

For these products, the FDA determined that the potential benefit to smokers who switch completely or significantly reduce their cigarette use would outweigh the risk to youth, provided the applicant follows post-marketing requirements aimed at reducing youth exposure and access to the products.

This comes at a time Kenyan authorities are under increased pressure to ban new tobacco products in the market.

The Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) warns the US development is more proof that Kenya lags behind the rest of the world in the fight to prevent smoking-related deaths.

CASA chairman Joseph Magero said: "This landmark ruling in the US is due recognition of the scientific evidence that harm reduction products can save millions of lives by helping smokers to quit."

“Countries worldwide are seeing and feeling their benefits, yet authorities in Kenya still seek to deny our three million desperate smokers access to these innovative products, which might provide their only hope of moving away from lethal cigarettes.

“Thousands of lives could be saved if legislation follows the evidence and includes alternative nicotine products such as vaping and nicotine pouches as crucial tools to fight smoking.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Mercy Mwangangi, said that Kenya is yet to review its stand on nicotine pouches in the market, adding that the Government is not going to change its stance.

This follows calls by the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (Ketca), to have the Government impose a ban on nicotine and associated tobacco products.

In its approval of the new products, the FDA noted that the new tobacco and nicotine products risk being used by underage users, leading to its imposition of strict marketing and advertising restrictions on the products.

“Today’s authorization imposes strict marketing restrictions on the company, including digital advertising restrictions as well as radio and television advertising restrictions, to greatly reduce the potential for youth exposure to tobacco advertising for these products,” FDA  said.

Tobacco manufacturers have argued that new nicotine and tobacco products such as vapes, nicotine pouches and E-cigarettes present a less harmful proposition to traditional cigarettes, urging Governments to reconsider stances against them.

In a statement delivered at the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum in September, BAT’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kingsley Wheaton called on Governments to rely on science in making decisions on new products in the industry.

“Responsible, science-backed and well-thought-through regulation is essential to ensuring that adult consumers can use reduced-risk products with confidence, while governments and health bodies can be assured of product safety and quality.

“There is evidence that following bans, vapour consumers can revert to smoking – undoing the good work of category development and its evolution. Governments should be revoking bans on alternative products, not introducing them,” he said.