Public health expert calls FDA vaping regulations ‘bureaucratic harassment’

In his final days as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb recommended new vaping regulations against conventional brick-and-mortar retailers.  According to a published press announcement of March 13, 2019, Gottlieb wants to prohibit the sales of most flavored vapes through gas stations, convenience stores, and all venues that are not age-restrictive.   Vape Shops would theoretically get a pass as would tobacco and menthol flavored vapor e-liquids.

The FDA then released a draft compliance policy for the new regulations which simultaneously solicited public feedback on the yet-to-be-implemented regulations.  The only caveat was that those responding to the probe must, of course, be American citizens or companies.  However, at least one highly-regarded public health expert from across the pond in the United Kingdom is not letting this legal hindrance prevent him from voice his opinions on the matter.

Clive Bates blasts FDA regulations as ‘bizarre’

Clive Bates is a very vocal advocate of the vaping community, but that’s not his only claim to fame.  His resume boasts leading positions with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Director General of the Welsh Government, and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.  In other words, Bates is one smart cookie.

In an April 17 blog post entitled Bizarre FDA vaping retail restrictions more likely to do harm than good, Mr. Bates strikes hard against the FDA’s “auto-induced moral panic” over teen vaping.  Almost two years ago, the former FDA Chief Gottlieb was so irritated by what he viewed was a surge in Juul usage that he labelled teen vaping as a national epidemic.   Teen smoking rates were plummeting to all-time lows, but Gottlieb didn’t seem to care.

Bates finds Gottlieb’s most recent regulatory proposals “entirely mad.”  Why would the leading public health agency of the United States choose to implement such harsh restrictions on vape purchases  – especially for adult smokers – while doing absolutely nothing about conventional tobacco cigarettes?

“Caught in its auto-induced moral panic about the teen vaping epidemic, the FDA has decided that it would be better if certain vaping products were harder to get hold of than cigarettes, and the ones that were easiest to get hold of should be the ones most like cigarettes – tobacco and menthol flavour. This seems entirely mad to me and riddled with the potential for unintended consequences that would increase smoking in both adults and adolescents…”

“The main effect will be on adults: it is the casual bureaucratic harassment of law-abiding adults while they try to obtain regular supplies of products they are using as alternatives to smoking.  It won’t take many to relapse to smoking to blow any conceivable case for these measure right out of the water.”

The FDA also wants to require all online vape stores to use proper third-party age-verification software, most of which already do.   The newly proposed FDA regulations against the vaping industry would also limit the amounts of vapor products purchased in a single visit, either through conventional brick-and-mortars or via the Internet.

Bates thinks that this extensive combination of anti-vaping restrictions will harm an unlimited number of adult smokers trying to quit while the underage teens will still find creative ways to obtain their illicit vapes.  After all, how many of today’s vapers began smoking while in their teens?  And haven’t tobacco cigarettes been illegal for minors to purchase for multiple decades now?   Teenagers…they always seem to find a way.

 (Image courtesy of Regulator Watch/YouTube)

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