By Lydia Wheeler – 10/23/15 02:44 PM EDT
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent its final rule to regulate additional tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars, for White House review.
The rule, which was first proposed more than a year ago, was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Monday, but it could be weeks before the rule is actually released.
FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said the Office of Management and Budget is required to review all significant regulatory actions and has 90 calendar days to do so.
“However, this timeframe can be extended to allow for additional interagency discussion,” he said. “At this time, the FDA cannot provide any further comment until the final rule is published.”
The American Lung Association is hoping for an expedited review.
“We remain deeply troubled that it’s taken 18 months from the time the proposal was released to now,” said Erika Sward, the group’s assistant vice president of national advocacy. “We need to move forward in protecting kids and public heath.”
Sward said the lung association is hoping the final rule will give FDA the authority to truly regulate all tobacco products. Under the proposed rule, she said, there was a loophole for certain “premium” cigars.
“There’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product and certainly not a safe cigar,” she said. “FDA needs to have the basic authority over all tobacco products to make sure kids aren’t buying them and warning labels are required.”
A group of researchers may have cooked the books to show that vapor exhaled from e-cigarettes is more dangerous than it actually is.
A paper published in the Current Environmental Health Reports found that “secondhand” exposure to exhaled e-cigarette vapor is toxic because it contains particulate matter, which can pose a risk to the respiratory system.
Anti-smoking advocates, doctors and the American Vaping Association claim the report is totally bogus. According to the critics, the study found essentially no difference between the amount of particulate matter in a house with active vaping and homes that were both totally vape and smoke-free.
The observational study found that the home containing tobacco smoke had levels of PM2.5 60 times greater than the homes with and without vaping. The results showed that the home with vaping measured 9.88 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
The two homes with no vaping or smoking at all recorded PM2.5 levels of 9.53 and 9.36. The house with tobacco measured PM2.5 of 572.52 per cubic meter.
Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, wrote on Tobacco Analysis:
The truth is that exposure to the e-cigarette aerosol is no more ‘toxic’ than baseline exposure in a completely smoke-free, vape-free home. In other words, in terms of fine particulate matter exposure, secondhand vaping appears to represent no risk.
Siegel added that “it has the appearance that because the results didn’t come out the way the authors wanted it to, they misreported the conclusion to conform with what was apparently their predetermined conclusions against e-cigarettes.
Admitting that you use e-cigarettes could cost you thousands of pounds in additional premiums. What basis is there for this price difference, asks James Daley
It’s no secret that smoking tobacco isn’t great for your health. But when it comes to the world of insurance, it’s always been a little more complicated.
When you’re young, and buy your first life insurance policy, being a smoker can be costly. In fact, it’s likely to double your premiums. Same goes for any other kind of protection insurance – like critical illness cover or income protection.
But if you make it all the way to retirement as a smoker, it finally starts to pay back in your favour. Smokers can buy a better retirement income than their clean living peers.
As always, these prices are driven by statistics. Life insurance is more costly as a smoker because you’re more likely to die while your policy’s in force. And for exactly the same reason, pension companies will offer you more in retirement – because they expect to be paying it to you for fewer years than someone who doesn’t smoke.
The safe alternative to smoking?
But what about so-called “vaping” and electronic cigarettes? These have been the key to many heavy smokers giving up over the past few years – and a few months back, a UK government study even suggested it is 95% less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes.
So in the face of broadly positive press for e-cigarettes, why is it that the insurance industry has decided that they are just as bad for you as the real thing? What do they know that we don’t?
Take out a life insurance policy today and you’ll almost certainly be asked if you’ve “smoked any tobacco products over the past 12 months (including e-cigarettes)”. It’s a yes or no answer – and if you answer yes, your premium will be twice as expensive.
If the life insurers were able to base their decision in statistics – this decision may be more defensible. But given that they don’t even ask people to specify whether they vape or smoke – they don’t even have the data. Not to mention the fact that e-cigarettes have only been around for about a decade – which isn’t enough time to compile any meaningful results.
It’s hard to see this as anything other than a cynical ploy to pocket a few extra quid
This is not the only anomaly to be found in a life insurance application form. Insurers routinely ask questions about alcohol consumption, family health history, and even your waist line. These are fairly intrusive questions – but are perhaps fair enough in terms of the clear links between these factors and an individual’s mortality. But insurers also ask if you’ve ever suffered from “stress”. Anyone who answers no to that question is surely not being honest with themselves. But anyone who answers yes may find their premium pushed up – as they’re shoved into the mental health problems bucket.
It’s time for the regulator to take a look at the way insurers set their prices – not just in life insurance, but in all areas of insurance. There are too many areas where the evidence is simply not clear enough to justify the way that insurers choose to treat prospective or even existing customers. One of my greatest bugbears is an insurer’s right to put your car insurance premium up if you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Regardless of whether the statistics justify their reasoning, it’s simply not fair play.
James Daley is the founder and managing director of Fairer Finance (fairerfinance.com), the consumer group and financial ratings website. He is also a regular pundit on the BBC One shows, Rip-Off Britain and Watchdog, and a former editor for the consumer group Which?. Follow him on Twitter @fairerfinance
• Have a question for our experts? Emailmoneyexpert@telegraph.co.uk
please subscribe and thank you for your support
thanks for your support
The Cloudmaker Whiteout DNA, the second configuration of Cloudmaker Tech’s modular, future-proof, user-customizable personal vaporizer. The Whiteout DNA unit comes fully-assembled & QC-tested with Evolv’s cutting-edge new customizable DNA200 Temperature Control chipset. The DNA200 can push up to 200W using a 1100mAh 3S LiPo battery configuration, and we are working on offering a 1300mAh expansion kit! The genius of the Whiteout is that you can interchange and customize every part of it, from changing the color and material of your device’s panels, to upgrading/swapping your chip itself without soldering or special skills. This future-proof flexibility is thanks to our modular design & specially-developed Build Kits, which are based on community requests and released regularly to expand the possible factory-supported configurations of the Whiteout.
Evolv DNA 200
200 Watt Variable Power Module with Temperature Protection and USB The DNA 200 is a power regulated digital switch-mode DC-DC converter for personal vaporizers. It features Evolv’s patented Wattage Control, Temperature Protection, Preheat, OLED Screen, and waterproof onboard buttons. The USB port and Evolv’s EScribe software can be used to customize or monitor the user experience. The DNA 200 runs from a 3 cell lithium polymer battery, and features cellby-cell battery monitoring and integrated 1A balance charger. It is the most advanced personal vaporizer controller ever made.