The Food and Drug Administration did something unusual recently: for the first time ever, it allowed a vaping system to be legally marketed in the U.S. as a way for smokers to kick the habit…

“Today’s authorizations are an important step toward ensuring all new tobacco products undergo the FDA’s robust, scientific premarket evaluation. The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products – either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption – by reducing their exposure to harmful chemicals,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “We must remain vigilant with this authorization and we will monitor the marketing of the products, including whether the company fails to comply with any regulatory requirements or if credible evidence emerges of significant use by individuals who did not previously use a tobacco product, including youth. We will take action as appropriate, including withdrawing the authorization.”

So a victory for common sense, and possibly an end to the moral panic over vaping, inside the FDA? We can hope so. But as Reason’s Eric Boehm notes:

…the FDA confirmed exactly what vaping advocates have been saying for years, but did it only after issuing sweeping new regulations that effectively crushed large swaths of the e-cigarette market.

Now, while literally millions of other products await the FDA’s official (and slow-moving) stamp of approval, the agency has awarded a huge market privilege to Vuse Solo by making it (for now) the only e-cigarette product that can be marketed legally. It’s probably a total coincidence that Vuse is manufactured by R.J. Reynolds, one of the biggest tobacco companies on the planet.

A partial win, then, for common sense and science. But moral panic remains within easy reach, should the FDA need a quick hit to calm its nerves.