When the FDA e-cig regulations were recently announced, many in the vaping community were waiting with bated breath for a high-ranking politician, anyone at all, to come to our defense. As the days flew by and no one stepped up to the plate, a little known Senator from the beautiful state of Wisconsin decided to pick up the torch.
On May 17, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson sent a rather aggressive letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf. It appears as if Johnson is not altogether convinced that the FDA has the legal authority to regulate the vaping industry, and even if it does, maybe it shouldn’t. Johnson asks,
“How is the FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes not a premature restriction on an industry given the FDA’s admission that it does not have “sufficient data” about e-cigarettes to determine the effects on the public’s health?”
Ron Johnson is no ordinary Senator
Now, a Senator from Wisconsin may not seem to be as intimidating as a politician from another, more stylish state, like California or New York, for instance, but RonJohnson is no ordinary senator. Sen. Johnson is a member of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, one of the most powerful committees in Washington, DC.
RonJohnson may not be in the news as much as say Gov. Chris Christie or Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, but the man wields a great deal of politician influence, as is made clear in his letter to the FDA.
“In order to assist the Committee (on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs) in better understanding the FDA’s decision to expand its authority on e-cigarettes, I ask that you please provide the following information and materials.”
Johnson goes on to ask a long list of other very detailed questions in his letter, including the following:
- “Will the FDA issue a revised rule if there is sufficient data that finds that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes? Please explain.”
- “Did the FDA determine how many e-cigarette businesses will be affected by the rule? If not, why?”
- “If so, please provide that data.”
- “Has the FDA considered the unintended consequences if decreased access to e-cigarettes leads to increased consumption of traditional cigarette and tobacco products? Please explain.”
Johnson seems to be asking the common-sense questions that the entire vaping community has been asking for a very long time. Is the FDA and the Obama Administration secretly siding with Big Tobacco by trying to destroy the vaping industry? And do they even care that the FDAe-cig regulations will be putting thousands of Americans out of work by closing vape shops and online e-cig retailers? It will be interesting to read the FDA’s response, which is due by May 31 at 5:00 PM.