Marcus Munafò, the editor-in-chief of the journal which is solely focused on tobacco and nicotine related topics, pointed out that changing the terminology used in the FDA definition of “tobacco products” would be a good place to start.
“Products that contain nicotine derived from tobacco fall within a court-endorsed legal framework for FDA regulation. To date, Nicotine & Tobacco Research has not had an explicit policy on how e-cigarettes should be described,” said Munafò.
“If all products containing nicotine derived from tobacco were labeled as “tobacco products” internationally, then nicotine-replacement therapies would be classified as tobacco products, which they are clearly not. As a scientific journal, definitions matter, and a legal ruling in a single country is not a sound basis for determining whether a certain definition is valid,” he added.
If e-cigarettes are tobacco products, then so are nicotine patches
The editor-in-chief pointed out that it is the journal’s preference that the term “tobacco products” is reserved to products that are actually made from or contain tobacco, “rather than contain constituents such as nicotine extracted from it ”.
Munafò added that the label “nicotine-containing products” would be more appropriate to non-tobacco containing products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine-replacement therapies. However, even this would have to be used with caution, he added, since there there are e-liquids that do not even contain nicotine.
“However, even the term nicotine-containing products does not apply to cases where aerosol-producing devices are used with liquids that do not contain nicotine—in this case, distinguishing between vaping devices and liquids (which may or may not contain nicotine) could be helpful.”
Terminology needs to be unambiguous and scientifically appropriate
The editorial argued that rather than using umbrella terms it would make more sense to refer to the products for what they are. “A simpler approach would therefore be to refer to “cigarettes,” “e-cigarettes,” and so on, without reference to broad categories.” The terminology used should be clear, unambiguous, and scientifically appropriate, and any broad terms used should be based on these principles, concluded the article.
Read Further: Nicotine & Tobacco Research