FDA Head Confirmed that Supports Vaping
Scott Gottlieb has been confirmed as the head of the Food and Drug Administration. This could be good news for e-cigarette users and the vaping industry because Gottlieb has a record of being level-headed and science-oriented when it comes to his attitude towards vaping. He has also stated that he wants to pull back on what he considers to be overzealous regulations that delay progress and the introductions of important products to the market.
Gottlieb was a controversial choice for FDA commissioner due to his ties to both the vaping industry and pharmaceutical companies. A medical doctor and an investor, Gottlieb has financial ties to a vaping company as well as many drug companies, but he has promised to divest his interests in all of these as he takes the position in the FDA. Some who oppose e-cigarettes worry about his ties to vaping company Kure, while others worry that his interests in Big Pharmaceutical will cause him to be biased. Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed Gottlieb on May 9th.
On the subject of vaping, Gottlieb has so far refused to take a stand on the issue of banning flavored e-liquid to protect children. He has said that more investigation needs to be done to determine if flavored e-liquids do more good in helping adults quit smoking than harm to kids who may be attracted to the flavors.This is in sharp contrast to the attitude of the Obama Administration, which has repeatedly shown almost no interest in vaping as as way to reduce smoking while worrying about the hypothetical possibility of kids getting hooked on cigarettes by way of candy flavored e-liquid.
Gottlieb has also criticized the FDA for its failure to encourage the availability of harm reduction products like e-cigarettes. His attitude is in line with Donald Trump’s promises to cut government regulations on businesses.
The vaping industry is feeling optimistic about Gottlieb because his attitude towards vaping thus far has been very open-minded.President Trump recently fired former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who misrepresented data from an e-cigarette study involving teens to warn Americans that vaping leads to teen smoking. Gottlieb, in his first speech to his new staff,told them that they must be “patient-centric and science-based” in everything they do. He stressed the importance of science and accurate analysis of data. Many of his supporters have praised him for his concern for the public health and for medical patients. Gottlieb knows something of being a patient himself as he is a cancer survivor.
Although Gottlieb is viewed as relatively vape-friendly due to his writings and statements, as FDA commissioner he does not have the power to single-handedly change or make laws. He could, however, influence FDA decisions greatly by firing current and hiring new staff, or by pushing vaping regulations in a different direction. He could even push for a change in the deeming rules to remove e-cigarettes from the tobacco products category.