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Lesser of two evils

The Food and Drug Administration has given its authorization to an electronic cigarette, the Vuse Solo, saying that the tobacco-flavored product can help adult smokers reduce their exposure to the harmful chemicals in regular cigarettes.

It is far from a full-fledged endorsement of electronic cigarettes as safe. The FDA stressed they are neither safe nor “FDA approved,” and that people who don’t smoke shouldn’t use them.

So, the FDA is just saying that for smokers, the e-cigarette is better than firing up a regular, tobacco-burning cigarette. It is the lesser of two evils, the less dangerous of two poisons.

As a measure of how stringent the FDA has been, this is the only e-cigarette or vaping product authorized by the FDA, out of millions that have sought approval. The FDA is dead set against approving the kind of vaping devices and fruit-flavored vaping liquids that encourage teens to take up the habit.

Electronic cigarettes, the manufacturers say, can help smokers cut back and eventually quit the habit all together, though there has been little rigorous research done on those claims.

So, the FDA is saying, if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, the Vuse Solo is not safe, but better for you than regular cigarettes.

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