The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a document that places a value on the pleasure lost by users of e-cigarettes and some other tobacco products smoking less or quitting.

This is important in making cost-benefit calculations. According to the FDA's proposed rules the projected benefits would be reduced 70% to account for lost pleasure. From Reuters:

That means if the agency puts a value of $100,000 on the longer and improved life that might be achieved by deterring someone from smoking, then it would cut that benefit assessment to $30,000 because of the pleasure they lost.

Since regulators need to show that the benefit of a regulation would exceed its costs this could help tobacco companies argue that the cost of complying with new restrictions exceeds the public benefit.

The FDA's methodology is not usual.

John Graham, who headed the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which vets agencies' cost-benefit analyses, under President George W. Bush, said he could "not recall a specific instance" during his 2001-to-2006 tenure "where lost enjoyment played a significant analytical role."

Loss of pleasure had occasionally been used when analyzing proposals to ban products, Graham said, but was not treated as a deduction from benefits, as the FDA is doing.


The whole Reuters article is worth a read here.