For the first time in history, the FDA authorized three e-cigarette products: the Vuse Solo device and its pods.
The agency says the company that makes the Vuse Solo gave them data that shows it can be helpful to cigarette smokers.
In an email, the FDA said, "the potential benefit to smokers who switch completely or significantly reduce their cigarette use would outweigh the risk to youth."
Gregory Conley is the American Vaping Association president.
“After years of debate, you now have the FDA, which is our chief regulatory arm for things that we ingest - The FDA is saying that this particular product is appropriate for the protection of public health,” Conley said.
He says electronic cigarettes, which have been sold in the U.S. since 2006, are an essential step in the fight to help smokers quit tobacco cigarettes.
Last year, the FDA also took steps to keep vape products out of kids' hands, sending warning letters to 10 companies telling them to pull their flavored e-cigarette and e-liquid products because they appeal to young people.
Hasmeena Kathuria, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at Boston University and the director of the tobacco treatment center.
“Inhaling anything directly into the lungs is not a good idea,” Kathuria said.
She says she’s glad the FDA is acting on its promise to regulate these products. Nonetheless, the U.S. Surgeon General's office says since 2014, E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product by American kids, and Kathuria says that's concerning.
“We think all e-cigarettes should not be allowed on the market because of – one, the youth epidemic of nicotine addiction, two, we know that there's FDA approved medications for smoking cessation that are regulated, that we know are safe. We know that they are effective,” Kathuria said.
Knowing e-cigarettes aren't leaving the market anytime soon, the FDA will make these authorizations and marketing decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The agency says it hopes to get to a place where every vape product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”