Is this a joke? Is FDA promoting teen drug dependency as solution to teen vaping?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led by its chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb is now openly considering the promotion of drug therapies for teenagers who vape. Many believe that the absurdity of this concept is both unprecedented and truly abhorrent on many levels.
Dr. Gottlieb has been aggressively attacking the vapor industry since his 2017 appointment by Donald Trump. The FDA Commissioner has attacked the way that vaping products are named, the strategies in which they are marketed, and the places and methods in which they are sold. He’s even labeled teen vaping a national epidemic while largely ignoring the plummeting nationwide statistics on both teen and adult smoking rates.
A double-whammy of political corruption towards vaping?
Now that Big Tobacco’s the Altria Group has purchased a significant share of the Juul corporation through the USA’s largest-ever financial investment, Gottlieb is trying a different tact. Not only is he threatening to ban the sales of vapor products entirely – even through age-restricted brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce sites- he is also proposing newfangled “drug therapies” as a way to help young people overcome their “addition to vaping.”
During an event held in Silver Springs, Maryland, last week, Gottlieb was asked about the seemingly contradictory evidence regarding the rapidly falling teen smoking rates compared to the perceived rise in youth vaping. His response was frightening.
"This progress is being undercut — even eclipsed — by the recent, dramatic rise in youth vaping…A few years ago, it would have been incredible to me that we’d be here, discussing the potential for drug therapy to help addicted youth vapers quit nicotine."
Yes, once again, the FDA is preferring to shove drugs down the throats of Americans – teenage Americans, at that - rather than solve the real issue. Teens vape because they think it’s cool. Coincidentally, generations of adult smokers who began smoking as teenagers also did so for the very same reason.
When Laura Lempert of the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Research and Education heard of the FDA’s plan to start drugging teens who vape, she immediately pushed into the conversation via NBC News.
“FDA is asking the wrong questions…E-cigarettes are recreational products, not drugs. Let’s face it — kids think e-cigarettes are cool and they use them as recreational products.”
Lampert is wrong in labeling e-cig as recreational products. They are tobacco harm reduction devices. Even the FDA acknowledges this fundamental fact.
But Lempert also she goes much too far in her anti-vaping rhetoric in other ways, too. In the same interview, she openly supports the FDA’s ability to regulate the vaping and e-cigarette out of existence by immediately pulling “from the market all e-cigarettes that have not been pre-approved” and by prohibiting “all internet sales of e-cigarettes.”
Yes, Lempert says nothing about the decades of professional ineptitude and comparable lack or moral outrage that the FDA has expressed towards the marketing of combustible tobacco products over the years. For Big Tobacco cigarettes, it’s apparently okay to simply slap a new warning label on the packages and allow virtually every convenience store in the nation to sell them (while the U.S. government rakes in about a 60% margin in federal taxes, by the way).
Lempert also fails to address the flashing-red-light issue of the possible FDA-instigated drug addition of thousands of American teen vapers that will put billions more dollars into the already-overflowing coffers of Big Pharma.
And if Lembert’s wish were to come true where the FDA abolishes the sales of e-cigarettes entirely – even online - thousands more teenagers will be driven directly into the warm and welcoming arms of Big Tobacco.
So, let’s get this straight. The FDA wants to kill the entire vaping industry – an industry already proven to be 95 % less harmful than smoking – because teens are abusing it? Shocker.
What is the FDA’s plan regarding teen drinking, teen smoking, teen texting-while-driving, or any other youthful abusive practice? Will the FDA be abolishing the sales of beer, wine, vodka, cigarettes, cigars, and cell phones, too? If the FDA kills the vapor industry while allowing the tobacco industry to remain alive, this could quite possibly be political malpractice on the grandest scale.
The fact that the FDA wants to kill the vaping industry in a way that rewards both Big Pharma and Big Tobacco is truly incredulous and even a little bit genius. Now THAT’S a double-whammy of political corruption that even the vaping advocacy groups probably didn’t see coming.
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)