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CDC Director Tom Frieden resigns as FDA hearing on e-cig explosions is scheduled

CDC Director Tom Frieden is no friend of the vaping industry, essentially because many view his agency’s scientific research and related publications largely bogus. So, when the announcement came this week that the CDC chief will resign immediately after President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, the vaping industry collectively and figuratively cheered with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile around the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public hearing and workshop on e-cig explosions, a topic that has been in the news lately as a pet-peeve project of Connecticut Senators Blumenthal and Schumer. The FDA hearing will take place in Bethesda, Maryland on April 19 and 20, and anyone can attend. They just have to sign up via a special website before March 17, 2017.

How many vaping activist groups will attend? Perhaps the more important question is how many anti-vaping groups will in attendance. After all, in America, the squeakiest wheel usually gets the grease.

Hopefully, the vaping industry will send several high-ranking members who have the gumption and the tenacity to stand up verbally to the likes of Blumenthal and Schumer who will most surely be making an appearance. After all, Bethesda, Maryland is basically a suburb of Washington, DC and just a few, short miles away.

Who will be heading this FDA hearing on e-cig explosions?

The FDA hearing is scheduled exactly 3-months after Inauguration Day, and current FDA Commissioner Robert Califf still has no idea if he will still have a job after Trump takes office. The President-elect has tapped vaping enthusiast Jim’ O-Neill to become the new FDA Commissioner, but O’Neill hasn’t yet been confirmed and might run into opposition during his senate confirmation hearings.

Meanwhile, Trump’s pick to be the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the cabinet post that oversees the FDA and presumably Jim O’Neill, is also under fire on Capitol Hill. Tom Price has been accused of ethics violations after being caught trading stocks in healthcare and pharmaceutical companies while working as a Georgia Congressman.

Is three months enough time to resolve these multiple potential conflicts of interest and related staffing issues in time for the April 19 FDA hearing? Most political pundits say yes. Although, those signing up for the Bethesda event might be waiting quite a long time before learning who will actually be running the show.