The FDA's vicious fighter war could continue even after Scott Gottlieb disappears


On March 5th, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation at the end of the month. Despite the Trump Administration's deregulation program, Gottlieb's FDA has been a drastic exception, repeatedly reinforcing regulatory oversight of new electronic vapor products and threatening to remove existing products from the market in response to the increase. vaping of minors.

Unfortunately, all the sigh of relief that the vaping industry breathed when Gottlieb resigned was momentary. In his last weeks in office, Mr. Gottlieb has only magnified the FDA's fight against vaping, by issuing new regulations for electronic cigarettes with pods and doubling the administration's threat to withdraw the entire product category of the market.

Let's hope the new FDA chief will not respond to Gottlieb's tough discussion. The concern about vaping in minors is exaggerated given the declining trend of smoking in the long run. The total ban on pod-based electronic cigarette products could have major unintended consequences, as vaping has been shown to help smokers quit traditional tobacco products.

According to Gottlieb, the determining factor for potential FDA action will be the 2019 National Youth Smoking Survey of the Center for Disease Control, due to be released in August. Youth vaping has actually increased recently, according to national surveys. A University of Michigan poll asking college and high school students if they used electronic vapor products in the last 30 days showed a general increase between 2017 and 2018 – 3.5% to 6% for Grade 8 students, from 8.2% to 16.1% for the 10th to 11th percentages and to 20.9% for Grade 12 students.

These figures are daunting at first glance, but in the context of long-term tobacco trends, the FDA's anti-vaping war is very hypocritical.

According to the same study conducted by the University of Michigan, between 1991 and 2001, the smoking rate among 10-year-olds was nearly 30%. Yet there has been no call for a total ban on cigarettes, like electronic steam products. Indeed, it can be argued that it is a historical accident that traditional tobacco products have not been treated with increasing hostility, as is the case today. In other words, a total ban on tobacco products is unthinkable, since smoking has existed since ancient times. E-vapor, meanwhile, is the new kid on the market and is sensitive to the anger of regulators.

The future leader of the FDA should not be as zealous as his predecessor to over-regulate. The use of vaping has been shown to help smokers quit, as shown by a recent study of the New England Journal of Medicine by the UK National Institute for Health Research and Cancer. As I wrote in February about the design and results of the study:

The trial randomly assigned approximately 900 smokers to use either electronic cigarettes or a traditional smoking cessation device. [product]. About 18% of the spraying group was able to quit after one year, while only 10% of the patch, chewing gum, inhalers, or oral nicotine group.

For the sake of common sense, let's hope the next FDA chief ends Gottlieb's ill-advised attacks on vaping. The hostile attitude of the Trump administration towards a new product is hypocritical in the face of history, especially since it has been shown that vaping is a positive alternative to traditional tobacco products, more harmful.

Casey Given (@CaseyJGiven) is a contributor to Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is the executive director of Young Voices.

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