Addiction doctor tells Congress: ‘Support Cole-Bishop bill’ to repeal FDA deeming regulations

Dr. Terry Sellers from Orem, Utah, is a highly-regarded addiction specialist who has recently called for Congress to take a second look at the Cole-Bishop Amendment.  This bill would change the predicate date of the controversial FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe vaping and e-cigs off the market by 2018.

Dr. Terry understands that the federal government may want to increase oversight into this relatively fledgling industry, but by his estimations, the current regulations as written simply go too far.   

When people struggle with addiction to alcohol, pain-killers, heroine, and other drugs that are far more deadly than tobacco or nicotine, they often enter rehabilitation facilities for perhaps 30-days or longer to begin the recovery process.  Doctors like Terry Sellers are on the front lines of these treatment centers and know very well how difficult the detox and recovery process can be.

In an Op-Ed for the Salt Lake Tribune, Sellers offers the following comments.

“People with drug or alcohol dependency have a higher rate of dependency on cigarettes and because most treatment facilities don't allow for smoking, e-vapor products are often a useful and safer method for them to lessen this dependence. My professional experience is that e-vapor products are potentially an effective tool in reducing smoking and could be a less harmful alternative at that. Given the choice between cigarettes and e-vapor products, the choice is very clear — e-vapor products are a worthwhile alternative.”

To put this another way, if someone is trying to kick an addiction to OxyVontin, for example, addiction specialists like Dr. Terry have often allowed the recovering patients to temporarily substitute one addiction for another -  something that is far less deadly, of course.  In the past, recovering addicts usually switched to smoking cigarettes.

It’s tantamount to smokers trying to quit smoking by substituting their cigarette cravings with fistfuls of M & Ms.  The M & Ms aren’t exactly healthy, but they are far better for you in the long run than smoking two packs of Luckys per day.

When vaping and electronic cigarettes began to gain in popularity, physicians and counselors would try to steer their patients away from smoking and towards the healthier alternative of vaping instead.  But thanks to the FDA deeming regulations, widespread vaping bans, and unending amounts of anti-vaping propaganda, e-cigs are no longer an option for many rehab centers across the country.

Dr. Sellers calls vaping a ‘useful diversion’ for addiction recovery

Now that e-cigs are being banned just like tobacco products from use in public facilities – include rehab centers, the recovery process for patients suffering addiction is not only more difficult, the related rates of long-term recovery are significantly threatened.  Dr. Sellers wants Congress to take these issues into consideration by passing the Cole-Bishop Amendment as a significant first step.

“It's no doubt the FDA's job is to regulate these products and to make sure they're safe, but the FDA shouldn't be stifling something that could be a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products. Not to mention, this (Cle-Bishop) bill has bipartisan support and enshrines important regulations on e-vapor products including protections limiting advertising to children.
A failure to update this predicate date could impact consumers by drastically limiting the number of e-vapor products that could be sold on the market as e-vapor product makers have to navigate the FDA's lengthy review process.”

The Cole-Bishop Amendment was recently updated by its co-authors, Congressmen Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sanford Bishop of Georgia.  The new bill is officially entitled, The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017.  It is still waiting for an initial vote on the House and Senate floors.


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