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VIDEO: FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb talks ‘science’ of vaping on CNBC

 

In a rare televised interview on CNBC this week, the new Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Scott Gottlieb made some very positive claims about vaping.  Appearing on Squawk Box, Co-host Joe Kernen asked some very pointed questions, and the new chief did not mince words.  When asked if vaping is a safer and healthier alternative to smoking, Gottlieb stated what millions of vapers have known all along.

“It’s not the nicotine that kills you.  It’s all the other carcinogens in lighting tobacco on fire.”

Simple words but oh so effective.  Gottlieb seemed confident, knowledgeable, and decisive, And Although he was very polite, he also acted a little annoyed at the sheer stupidity of such a question.  He also admits that a regulatory process is needed to ensure that vaping remains safe for the American public, but he falls short of outright suggesting a repeal of the FDA deeming regulations.

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Other issues discussed included the notion that vaping is a gateway to teen smoking, During one brief exchange, Co-Host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked if current statistics show more smokers transitioning to vaping than vice-versa.  The FDA Chief would not outwardly agree while stressing the need for more research. 

Sorkin also asked, “And you think that e-cigarettes are relatively safe?”  Too which Gottlieb replied:

 “I think they need to go through an appropriate regulatory process which is what we’re doing, part of the announcement, we’re setting up that regulatory process, but I think that they have the potential to be a safer alternative to combustible tobacco.”

The reason for the FDA Commissioner’s recent CNBC appearance stems from the late-July announcement that the vaping industry would be receiving a nearly 5-year delay on the implementation of portions of the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to bankrupt thousands of vape shops around the nation.  Included in the Obama-era regulatory requirements is the demand for all vape retailers to adhere to a million-dollar Pre-Market Tobacco Applications process (PMTA).

Gottlieb, vaping, and the FDA deeming regulations

This PMTA has been around for decades, but typically only Big Tobacco products are involved.  In an attempt to redefine the current statutes to also include vaping, the FDA under Gottlieb’s Democratic predecessor Robert Califf reclassified all vaping technology and e-liquids as tobacco products.  This is the very center of the controversy.

Judging by Gottlieb’s recent statements on CNBC, he seems to be leaving the door open for a future repeal of the PMTA process for vapers, but he may simply want more scientific research to support his possible decision to do so in the future.  Fingers crossed. 

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