The vaping world has been waiting with baited breath to see how the FDA would regulate electronic cigarettes, but it appears that we will have to wait a little longer. This week, news broke that the FDA is sponsoring a new study at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Tobacco Research and Investigation to examine the long term health impact of ecigs.
The study will track participants for five years and cost $3.7 million. Grants to cover the research were provided by the FDA and the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. With the FDA Investing in the study, it definitely raises suspicious that ecig regulations will remain on hold a while longer while regulators determine the real risks and benefits of vaping.
Dr. Doug Jorenby, the director of Clinical Services at University of Wisconsin, said research has never been more important for the ecig industry. “Cigarettes have been studied intensively in the US since the 1950’s. E-cigarettes have just come on the market really less than a decade ago,” he said. “Unfortunately, scientifically, we are way behind the curve. There are a lot of anecdotal pros and cons out there, but when it comes to evidence that meets the scientific standards, we have far too little, other than we know the use of e-cigarettes is just exploding.”
While vaping is certainly becoming a more common choice among smokers that want to quit, it’s still met with a lot of suspicion by health care providers. The FDA has wavered back and forth constantly about how to regulate ecigs. “Unfortunately, we don’t have hard numbers yet to back up policy decisions, and the unfortunate part of research is that there’s a lag time, and we are scrambling madly to try to get that information,” Jorenby commented.
During this new study, researchers will follow 400 participants, including 150 cigarette smokers and 250 smokers that also use electronic cigarettes. “We’re going to follow them over several years, looking at all kinds of health outcomes, including their exposure to some potential biomarkers for cancer risks,” Jorenby said. “We’re going to be looking at their lung function and their pulmonary function.”
Regulators hope this new study will provide vital information that will help them make a decision on how to make safe rules for the vaping industry. Do you think the FDA will postpone regulations until the five year study is complete?