When the new FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb was first appointed by Donald Trump, many in the vaping community were hopefully optimistic. After all, this is a guy who was a former major investor in the KURE e-cigarette company and who is also a former business associate of Peter Theil of PayPal and NJOY fame. Finally, the proverbial deck seemed to be stacked in favor of the vaping community.
Not so fast. Within a few short months, Dr. Gottlieb began making some rather strange comments on social media and in the press. Vapers began to hear rumblings that the FDA was none too happy with vape shops and online vendors selling to kids.
In July of 2017, Gottlieb said in a television interview that he thought nicotine in tobacco products should be further regulated. Since the FDA now classifies e-liquids and e-cigs as tobacco products per the new FDA deeming regulations, Gottlieb seemed to be firing a shot at both Big Tobacco and the American vaping industry.
And in a rather worrisome tweet on February 17, 2018, the FDA Commissioner seemed to post a thinly veiled threat to the vaping community that essentially sounded like, “Stop selling to kids – or else!” The actual tweet stated the following.
“Adults can’t favor preserving properly regulated e-cigarettes as an alternative for smokers who quit combustible tobacco, and not at same time vigorously oppose child access to e-cigs. The industry isn’t sustainable if it leads to a whole generation of youth initiation on tobacco”
Then just last week, The FDA made their intentions known. The agency – by way of Gottlieb who appeared all over mainstream media in the days preceding the announcement – launched its official probe into the possible health risks of both nicotine and flavored tobacco products. While the press release says that the FDA is only seeking “public input” at this stage and that no new regulations are being announced at this time, many vaping advocates were saddened but not shocked that Gottlieb had seeming gone rouge.
What is the future of vaping and flavored e-liquids?
Is Dr. G turning against the vaping community? Or is this latest announcement just a feeble attempt to quash naysayers and create the illusion that the FDA is doing something? Donald Trump hates all regulation. Just look at the volumes of anti-regulation presidential orders that he’s signed since election day. Is Trump really going to support new regulatory actions – even if they are geared towards tobacco products? Will his base really go for this?
Only time will tell. But for now, vapers shouldn’t just sit on the sidelines waiting for something good to happen. The time to take action is now. Vapers are encouraged to contact their local, state, and federal elected officials. Fight for the right to vape!