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New of the weird: Gottlieb wonders why Rite Aid announces it will stop selling vapes

In what can only be described as a truly bizarre tweet, the now-former head of the FDA Scott Gottlieb is blasting the pharmacy chain Rite Aid for its recent decision to stop selling vaping products.   Reaction was swift and scathing.  After all, this is the very same man who has been leading an anti-vaping crusade for almost two years now, notoriously labeling teen vaping as a national epidemic and abolishing the sales of flavored vapes in convenience stores and gas stations.

Gottlieb’s April 11 tweet says, “Huh? Rite Aid nixes lower risk e-cigs but sticks with combustibles? The average convenience chain (stores without pharmacies) get about 30% of total sales from cigarettes with a 15-20% gross margin. Presumably Rite Aid may be addicted to that cash flow.”

The tweet caught many vaping enthusiasts completely off guard due to Gottlieb’s obviously hypocritical statements.  And who can blame them?  The very last press release issued by Gottlieb just days prior to his leaving office last week announced a new FDA probe into a tin-hat conspiracy theory that vaping causes seizures.  One vape shop owner, @LegionVaping, mentions this apparent contradiction of viewpoints in a perfectly crafted response. 

In his two-years as FDA Commissioner, Gottlieb never openly referred to vapor products as “lower risk.”  He always chose his words very carefully.  The closest he ever came to openly admitting that vaping is safer than smoking was occasionally labeling e-cigs as “potentially” lower risk.

But he would always follow up that statement with the old mantra “but more research is needed.” Greg Conley of the American Vaping Association (AVA) also felt the need to respond to the Gottlieb tweet by calling his statements “pure insanity.” 

Gottlieb’s strange tweet may be a feeble attempt to revamp his public image now that he has left his post as the vaping-hating FDA Commissioner.  Prior to his joining the Trump Administration, Gottlieb was a financial stakeholder in a major vaping company while being a board member of several others. 

Now that he has returned to civilian life, has his previous group of Big Money cohorts turned on him?  Is this a reason behind his apparent change of heart?

One can only speculate, but Gottlieb’s apparent 180-degree turn on vaping may be too little, too late, in the eyes of millions of Americans.  As one angry vaper named  Ryan‏ @madeinthe8Os puts it, “Oh, so NOW e-cigs present a lower risk. Funny how things have changed. You my friend had a chance to help prevent millions from an early death due to smoking with your false narratives. The blood will be on your hands.”

(Images courtesy of Twitter)

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