EU legislation is especially ill-suited to regulating new disruptive and controversial technologies that regulators don’t understand – see my discussion of regulating disruptive technology. Directives are produced by a kind of committee pinball game that reflect prejudices, esoteric beliefs and haggling of people with little knowledge of what they are dealing with and no accountability for the outcome or damage done. But once agreed, they are really hard to reverse or amend, and they are a good reason to do only what is necessary at European level.
In a recent column, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera invited Matt Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, to change direction and lead a campaign to exploit the public health potential of e-cigarettes by finding a better form of regulation than that in preparation at the FDA. In a response letter to the NYT, Matt declined this genuine and flattering invitation. Here I take a look at the exchange and then suggest 10 ways Matt Myers’ response letter could be improved. Continue reading “10 ways to improve Matt Myers’ letter to the New York Times”
(1) E-cigarettes: The potential to transform the tobacco industry. Imagine a product that is possibly >99% less harmful than cigarettes, delivers a similar use experience and offers a better economic bargain— this is the proposition of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). We believe e-cigs have the potential to alter the status quo of the US tobacco market and accelerate the volume decline of traditional cigarettes.
But what does the academic literature tell us about regulating disruptive new technologies like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products or novel nicotine products? If you want to get beyond zealous proposals for outright bans, crude restrictions and gratuitous burdens you will need to bypass the health journals and consult scholarship in academic law journals. Here are three paper that offer useful insights – none deal explicitly with tobacco or nicotine. Sadly, there is little sign that these insights have been grasped by FDA, the European Union or WHO. Continue reading “Regulating disruptive technologies – three papers”