Use of tobacco has remained one of the most lethal pastimes within the United States. With the creation of new products, like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), more and more individuals have begun to engage in this activity. In 2019, an epidemic surrounding the use of e-cigarettes emerged causing a multitude of users to suffer harmful respiratory illnesses. These events triggered the need for further investigation not only into the research used to analyze e-cigarettes, but also the regulation process used to validate them. E-cigarettes, like their predecessor traditional cigarettes, are regulated by the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) within the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Through premarket tobacco product applications (PMTA), the CTP determines whether tobacco products are safe for public use. This thesis was used to investigate whether the current regulatory process is able to effectively analyze all of the risks and health implications associated with the use of e-cigarettes. After reviewing research from literature to define the current state of knowledge surrounding the health impacts of e-cigarettes, an applied case study was conducted to determine whether the research in the PMTA was sufficient in assessing the safety of these devices. The findings of this research reveal that although the PMTA included some of the important research areas found in the literature review, its analysis was limited due to the continuous reliance on the comparison of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes to validate the argument of safety.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Electronic cigarettes--Health aspects--Research; Electronic cigarettes--Physiological effect--Research; Tobacco industry--United States--Law and legislation

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Sandra Rothenberg

Advisor/Committee Member

Franz Foltz

Advisor/Committee Member

Risa Robinson


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes