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FDA takes aim at teen vaping in 'interesting' press release

On August 8, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued yet another press release, this time targeting teen vaping education.  This most recent announcement follows directly on the heels of a July 28 report stating that the FDA will be seeking to reduce nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes while simultaneously delaying the PMTA requirements of the FDA deeming regulations until 2022.

The double-whammy of press announcements is leaving many in the vaping industry scratching their heads.  On the one hand, the new FDA Chief seems to be in favor of vaping as an effective smoking cessation tool by promising to use science-based evidence in his decision-making process.  The 5-year temporary reprieve of the PMTA process is also largely viewed as a necessary lifeline to the vaping industry.

On the other hand, yesterday’s FDA news release almost sounds like the same, old fear tactics of the Obama Administration. 

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would pursue a strategic, new public health education campaign aimed at discouraging the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by kids. The agency plans to expand its ‘The Real Cost’ public education campaign to include messaging to teens about the dangers of using these products this fall while developing a full-scale campaign to launch in 2018.”

It is easy for many in the vaping community to take offense at statements such as these.  However, later in the announcement, the FDA provides a quote from the new FDA Chief himself, which seems to indicate a must softer tone.

“While we pursue a policy that focuses on addressing the role that nicotine plays in keeping smokers addicted to combustible cigarettes, and to help move those who cannot quit nicotine altogether onto less harmful products, we will also continue to work vigorously to keep all tobacco products out of the hands of kids.”

Is Gottlieb trying to walk a fine line here, carefully choosing just the right words to appeal to those angry vaping haters while also tactfully communicating between-the-lines that the vaping industry shouldn’t worry too much about the expanded teen education program?

Most vape shop owners are already requiring proper identification before purchase.  Even many of the online vendors ask for ID, as well.  And most individual vapers would also agree that teen vaping is something that should be discouraged.

The FDA claims that the expansion of its public education strategy regarding teen vaping is part of a “new comprehensive plan” regarding nicotine and tobacco harm reduction.  The trouble is - if there is one at all - that vape vendors seem to be getting the details of this new plan drip by drip by drip. 


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