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Friday, February 27, 2015

Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH)

The ever growing popularity of e-cigarettes has many chomping at the bit for regulations to be set for the devices. While most will agree that e-cigarettes appear to be a healthier alternative to traditional nicotine products, many hold concerns about teenagers who may be attracted to the fruity flavors of nicotine e-juice.

Experts are concerned that a landmark government study on tobacco use may not have much insight about e-cigarette use, Reuters reports. Insufficient data will provide a challenge for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set policies about e-cigarettes. The study is unlikely to contain data regarding the average dose of nicotine consumed from using e-cigarettes, due to the fact that e-cigarettes can be adjusted to release different amounts of nicotine.

"When you get to e-cigarettes it's really complicated," said Kurt Ribisl, a professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, who also sits on the FDA's tobacco products scientific advisory committee. "It’s a vexing and complex issue."

The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, draws from over five years of data from 46,000 people, according to the article. Experts contend that the study may lack the detail required for determining whether, or not, e-juice flavors are appealing to children.

“While all this data that is being accumulated through the PATH study is great, it is unclear to me how much is going to be useful for setting the policy and regulations of the future.” said Scott Ballin, a health policy consultant based in Washington, D.C.

The study will most likely, according to the article, provide information regarding smoking behavior that could influence tobacco regulations on warning labels, new product approvals and advertising restrictions.

"It is going to provide the most fine-grain, comprehensive, highest quality data on tobacco use that has ever been collected in the United States," said Stanton Glantz, a tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

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