The War on Vaping is heating up, and the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears to be getting more than a bit frustrated. When Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, he immediately appointed a major former investor in the e-cig company KURE to head the government agency. Since Democrats are typically the most vocal opponents of electronic cigarettes, many vaping enthusiasts were hopefully optimistic. Could it be that a Republican-controlled White House, both houses of Congress, and a seemingly pro-vaping Gottlieb would finally grant the vaping industry some much-needed support in a Post-Obama world?
Perhaps not. FDA Chief Gottlieb seems to be running out of patience, if his comments made a recent public appearance is any evidence. As mainstream media continues to spread a disinformation campaign inaccurately depicting vaping as a gateway to teen smoking, Gottlieb is under enormous political pressure to do something about the perceived threat to public health. On March 20, he issued a press release announcing the launching of an official FDA probe that could easily lead to a nationwide flavor ban much to the chagrin of American vapers.
Gottlieb takes to Twitter over ‘tepid response’ of vaping industry
Still, even though this announcement was met with extreme urgency and concern within the vaping community, Gottlieb may have wanted to make clear that the FDA’s concerns are indeed real. In early June during a speech at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference, the FDA Chief issued the following warning regarding a possible FDA-induced flavor ban at the national level.
“They (vaping and tobacco companies) better step up and step up soon – to address these trends along with us. So far, I must say, I’ve mostly been disappointed by the tepid response from companies that know that a meaningful portion of their sales are being derived from kids.”
This is not the first time that the once-perceived pro-vaping FDA Commissioner has blasted the vaping industry for failing to acknowledge the marketing of ‘kid-appealing’ electronic cigarettes and supplies to teens. Much like his boss Donald Trump, Gottlieb has been known to take to Twitter from time to time to express his disappointment. On February 17, he posted the following tweet.
“Adults can’t favor preserving properly regulated e-cigarettes as an alternative for smokers who quit combustible tobacco, and not at same time vigorously oppose child access to e-cigs. The industry isn’t sustainable if it leads to a whole generation of youth initiation on tobacco.”
It’s been a tough week for the American vaping industry, and the situation may be about to get a great deal worse. The passage of Prop E in San Francisco last Tuesday to ban the sales of flavored e-liquids and tobacco products is widely viewed as a crushing blow. Similar legislation is in the works in other major metropolitan areas including Chicago and New York.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in the midst of a federal probe which may determine that nationwide regulations could soon follow. If metropolitan legislatures continue to pass flavor bans, the FDA may be forced to follow suit whether Gottlieb secretly wants to or not.
If the vaping community is still under the assumption that Trump, Gottlieb, and the GOP are going to save our proverbial and collective asses, then we might want to rethink our strategy. A good first start might be to respond to the FDA probe regarding flavored e-liquids. The deadline to submit electronic comments is now July 16, 2018. Electronic submissions are being accepted via the Regulations.gov.
Related Article: FDA Chief may have just threatened vaping a 42-word tweet