FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb has ‘lost his mind’ over vaping, says ex-Trump aid

Under the direction of Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been on a slow and steady attack against the American vaping industry in recent years.  When Republican Donald Trump first won the presidency, many vaping advocates were hopefully optimistic that the Obama-era deeming regulations would soon be repealed.   Instead, the new head of the FDA has seemingly decided to kick things up a notch or two, and at least one ex-Trump official thinks Chief Gottlieb has essentially lost his mind in the process.

The tide against vaping began to take a significant turn for the worse when the FDA released a September 12 press announcement blasting teen vaping as a national “epidemic.”  Throughout 2018, Gottlieb and his agency has been actively trying to convince e-liquid and vape technology manufacturers to self-regulate their marketing strategies towards a less kid-appealing format.   Gottlieb has even tweeted thinly-veiled threats, and anti-vaping groups like The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have been saturating mainstream, print, and social media with anti-vaping misinformation for at least the past two-years.

The recent FDA press announcement makes clear that Gottlieb is not impressed with the vaping industry’s attempts to self-regulate. Besides calling teen vaping a national epidemic, he also announced that some 1,100 vape-related retailers will be or have received warning letters from the FDA regarding underage sales.  Another 131 establishments have even received financial penalties. 

American vaping industry under unyielding attack by FDA

Following the September 12 press release, Gottlieb himself hit the cable news networks promoting a new anti-vaping campaign funded by his agency, appearing in printed restroom advertisements in high school bathrooms, and going viral across multiple social media platforms.  Gottlieb scheduled appearances on as any news network that would have him, including CNBC’s Squawk Box and Fox News.

Then in late September, the FDA Commissioner appeared on C-Span2 at an Axios-hosted event.  It was at this opportunity where he made the alarming proclamation that the FDA was not only considering a ban of the sales of flavored e-liquids, but the agency was also considering banning the online sales of all vaping products in general.  Theoretically, this online ban would include everything from vape mods to coils and everything in between.

Related Article:  September 2018: Online vape sales bans, flavor bans, and Trump Tariffs, oh my!

In the midst of this Gottlieb-inspired political discourse, an ex-Trump official named that Matt Braynard appears to have spotted one of these televised, anti-vaping rants.  During an interview on The Hill TV, the former Data Strategist for Donald Trump took the bold move of verbally pummeling Commissioner Gottlieb while simultaneously promoting a strong and aggressive stance in favor of vaping.

“What the FDA chief is proposing here — Scott Gottlieb — is not to, say, limit teenagers from being able to buy this, it’s not educating people it might be harmful but to banning it entirely for everybody including adults, which seems to me that he has lost his mind.”
“(FDA commissioner Gottlieb) is formerly of the AEI [American Enterprise Institute], a very free market institute, and if he just consulted with his former doctor and AEI scholars...who have written extensively on the minimal risks of these nicotine vape products compared to cigarettes – which are incredibly dangerous and have been killing people for over 100 years, (he) would understand that banning this product from the market wholesale will have tremendous costs.  There is great risk reduction by allowing these products on the market.”

While Mr. Braynard’s comments are truly appreciated by many vaping enthusiasts and activists across the nation, there are currently no signs of Chief Gottlieb slowing down on his anti-vaping rhetoric.  His primary grudge seems to be against the Juul organization, but the entire American vaping industry is paying the price.

Just days ago, FDA investigators conducted a surprise raid of the Juul offices in San Francisco.  Meanwhile, CNBC is reporting that the Juul company is now demanding that the U.S. international Trade Commission step in and stop Chinese companies from manufacturing and marketing similar vaping devices that "blatantly emulate the distinctive design" of Juul technology. 

Related Article: FDA raids Juul offices; seizes thousands of documents on kid-friendly marketing

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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