Where there’s smoke, there’s not always fire, and the FDA seems to understand that could make all the difference, at least when it comes to people’s health. It’s dangerous to assume too much when a federal agency announces its long-term plans, but there appears to be a good deal of common sense in the Food and Drug Administration’s recent announcements regarding cigarettes, nicotine and vaping.

Still, we find it encouraging to see the FDA clearly state that nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco, “is delivered through products that represent a continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes.” In other words, there are a number of ways to get your nicotine hit these days, but lighting up clearly causes the most damage to your health. As a result, the FDA is giving some breathing room to e-cigarettes and other devices that take the smoke out of smoking. The agency recognizes that vaping is not a risk-free activity — what is? — but is resisting the curious efforts of some anti-smoking crusaders to kill the vaping business.

Encouraging innovation about safer ways to satisfy the urge seems more promising than prohibitions on the amounts of nicotine allowed in traditional coffin nails. For now, the FDA appears to be steering a sensible course on cigarette regulation.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

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