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Judicial Watch is seeking records from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), regarding the claimed cancer-causing effects of electronic cigarettes as compared to those of traditional cigarettes. ‘Effects’, which led the FDA to enforce the harsh regulations that are threatening to decimate the vaping industry.

The lawsuit entitled Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al (No. 1:17-cv-00831) was filed on May 5 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. According to a press release, Judicial Watch decided to take legal action after repeated requests to the related agencies were repeatedly ignored.

“The emails sought by Judicial Watch could shed light on how the Obama FDA arrived at the decision to strictly regulate e-cigarettes, despite its own admission that it had done inadequate research – and, in fact, that the devices helped smokers quit tobacco.” Tom Fitton, President, Judicial Watch

“The lawsuit was filed after the agencies failed to respond to FOIA requests sent in March 2017 seeking:

All internal [FDA, CDC, or OSG] emails discussing the relative carcinogenicity of inhalation from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems compared to inhalation from traditional combustible cigarettes.”

Harsh regulations based on insufficient data

Last year in 2016, the Federal Drug Administration enforced the deeming rule which classified vaping products as “tobacco products”, hence subjected them to the same regulations as deadly cigarettes while restricting their sale and availability in the United States. At the time the agency said that it was “taking this action to reduce the death and disease from tobacco products”, however in parallel the FDA also said, “We do not have sufficient data to determine what effects e-cigarettes have on public health at the population level. We also noted that some individuals report using e-cigarettes to successfully quit smoking….”

“We do not have sufficient data to determine what effects e-cigarettes have on public health at the population level. We also noted that some individuals report using e-cigarettes to successfully quit smoking….” US Food and Drug Administration

At this time many public health experts had spoken up against this initiative and forwarded actual studies that showed the efficacy of the products to the agency, amongst which the renowned April 2016 study by the London’s Royal College of Physicians, which found that vaping products are at least 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes.

Choosing power over public health?

“The emails sought by Judicial Watch could shed light on how the Obama FDA arrived at the decision to strictly regulate e-cigarettes, despite its own admission that it had done inadequate research – and, in fact, that the devices helped smokers quit tobacco,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The American people deserve to know if a corrupt government power grab put the public health at risk.”

US FDA’s response to the Court in consolidated lawsuit with vaping industry