Mr. Robert Fairman is a PhD student in the Georgia State University School of Public Health and a 2CI Fellow in the Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science. Regulatory science is an arm of research that aims to develop new tools, standards, and to assess the safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated policies — tobacco regulatory science helps the FDA inform regulations and policies they create regarding tobacco products. Mr. Fairman works within the health behavioral area of this informative process.
“I am a social and behavioral epidemiologist,” said Mr. Fairman. “Epidemiology is the study of diseases: how they spread, what causes them, and their outcomes. Simply, social epidemiology is looking at what social structures are more or less likely to cause an outcome.”
Arriving this past summer, Mr. Fairman did research on the modification of vaping devices — now he does research at Georgia State on the implications of vaping, and the use of other tobacco products. The recent headlines regarding vaping-related illness or death is a cause of concern for him.
“What this has done is it has polarized how we view vaping. If we ban everything, we’re going to have a lot of people who are addicted to nicotine and are going to have to stop cold turkey. That could be dangerous — their only other way to get nicotine is to turn to cigarettes. That’s a slippery slope.” Mr. Fairman also mentioned that the FDA has a list of resources on how to quit smoking or vaping.
In regard to the outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use, Mr. Fairman said cases are all over the place. Of those deaths, the median age is 52, while the median age of those hospitalized is 24 years of age. This raises the question of what other health factors cause death.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on February 14