New Vape Friendly Surgeon General Replaces Anti-Vape One
On the heels of FDA chief nominee Scott Gottlieb’s pro-vaping remarks during his confirmation hearing comes more news from Washington that could be good news for vapers: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has resigned. Murthy made headlines as well as some enemies late last year when he sent out a warning call against e-cigarettes, inaccurately calling them tobacco products and declaring that they are a threat to the public health. Now Murthy is out after President Trump requested his resignation.
It is unclear why Murthy was asked to resign, and for now he has been temporarily replaced by Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams. There is as of yet no Trump nominee for the permanent surgeon general position.
Murthy has been controversial, first for referring to gun violence as a “public health issue” and later due to his stance on vaping. Completely ignoring the benefits of vaping to smokers, Murthy issued a report on the dangers of vaping to children and teens. Though the vaping community as a whole agrees that no one under the age of 18 should be vaping, opponents of vaping often place so much importance on the single issue of youth vaping that they believe high taxes and bans are the only solution. Forbidding sales to anyone under 18 has been a voluntary restriction most vape retailers have imposed on themselves since the beginning. New laws are requiring this age restriction, as well as child-proof containers for e-liquids and warnings and ingredient lists on bottles.
Anti-smoking advocates who have also become anti-vaping advocates usually ignore the evidence that vaping is helping smokers to quit. Murthy’s report last December gave the anti-vapers more ammunition. But Murthy himself actually admitted that his report did not consider the possible benefits of vaping for adult smokers.
Meanwhile, vapers have been very vocal in their opposition to strict vaping regulations and the faulty studies being used to justify them. Murthy’s report itself was based on a study that showed, according to headlines, that teens who vape are more likely to end up smoking. Critics going over the study’s results pointed out that it actually showed the exact opposite, but headlines were spun to play up the results that showed a few vaping teens who did later smoke.
Vapers also vote, as conservative activist Grover Norquist has said many times. Norquist predicted that the 2016 presidential election would be decided by the vaping community. Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform petitioned President Trump to fire Surgeon General Murthy after Murthy made his declaration against e-cigarettes. While it is not known what Trump’s reasons were for requesting Murthy’s resignation, Norquist believes that the vaping community may have played a huge part in that decision and in Trump’s surprise victory over Hilary Clinton last November.
One of the biggest challenges vaping is facing is the FDA deeming rules that are set to go into effect in August of 2018. If left unchanged, virtually all vaping products currently on the market will become illegal, unless their manufacturers can afford the millions of dollars needed to get official approval from the FDA. A bill that would grandfather in products made before 2016 has gained much support from vapers, the vaping industry and politicians in both parties. Vapers have gathered to campaign for the bill, with many declaring that vaping helped them quit smoking while wearing “I Vape I Vote” buttons to send a message to politicians. There are many who believe that President Trump may have already gotten that message.