On May 18, Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis-R) sent a letter to the new FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb urging him to repeal and replace the controversial deeming regulations that threaten to bankrupt the American vaping industry. This is not the first letter that Johnson has sent to the FDA, but it is the first letter addressed to the new FDA Chief Gottlieb. The question is, will it work?
Sen. Johnson has long been a self-proclaimed advocate of the vaping industry, and he has written at least three previous letters to former FDA Head Robert Califf of the Obama Administration. However, Califf choose to ignore Johnson’s pleas for decisive action on nearly every account.
Now that Donald Trump is in office and the GOP is running the show, many in the vaping community expect things to change. But is a letter-writing campaign enough – even if the letter is written to a Republican appointee?
Sen. Ron Johnson and his letter to Gottlieb
In this latest Johnson letter, the Wisconsin politician begins by congratulating the new FDA Commissioner on his recent senate confirmation. By the second sentence, Johnson is launching into his usual pro-vaping rhetoric. However, the entire Johnson letter to Gottlieb is only about 200-words in its entirety.
“The rule threatens an emerging industry as well as former smokers who have switched to vaping. The regulations require e-cigarette manufacturers to complete costly and time-consuming applications to get federal approval to sell e-cigarette products. Based on estimates, these applications could sot manufacturers, many of which are small businesses, more than $1 million to complete.”
Is Sen. Johnson really serious about repealing the FDA deeming regulations via letter-writing? Or is he simply “blowing smoke?”
The American vaping industry has been under fire since the waning days of the Obama Administration when the FDA released new deeming regulations that classify e-cigs as tobacco products. Per the new regulations, manufacturers of everything from e-liquids to vape mods will be forced to adhere to a million-dollar Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process typically reserved for Big Tobacco. Since the majority of vape shops are small businesses, their owners cannot afford these uber-expensive fees and will face possible closure.
While Sen. Ron Johnson continually points this alarming factoid out in his many letters to the FDA, one has to wonder if letter-writing is the most effective way to handle this extremely dire situation.
Yes, the American vaping industry is fortunate to have political officials like Johnson on its side, but when will all this letter-writing pay off? Or is the U.S. vaping community being manipulated once again by an elected official who is simply paying lip-service to the very community who got him re-elected in a nail-bitingly close election last November? Only time will tell.