In a recent interview, Dr. Scott Gottlieb made some worrying claims about the future of vaping in America
As vapers, we’re very used to hearing stories about how vaping is potentially dangerous and could soon be banned. Meanwhile, anyone who’s taken the time to do their research can tell you; vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking as well as being an extremely effective smoking cessation tool. Regardless, many misinformed adults seem to think that vaping is dangerous, with polls indicating that only around 13% of individuals understand that vaping is much safer than smoking, while a full 26% believe vaping is just as bad, if not more dangerous than tobacco.
A large part of the reason for this disconnect between the public perception of vaping and what the peer-reviewed evidence has to tell us is the FDA. Their war on vaping has been going on for many years now, but things have only gotten worse over the course of 2018. In fact, it used to seem that the worst thing vapers in America had to worry about is the looming threat of an e-liquid flavor ban. But now we may have more significant problems, with FDA Commissioner saying in an interview earlier this week that an outright prohibition on online vaping sales is “on the table.”
C-Span 2 Axios Discussion
It was just yesterday, September 25th, that Dr. Gottlieb appeared on an Axios sponsored panel discussion on the C-Span 2 network. The panel was hosted to discuss the potential impact of vaping on society, especially the youth. It was during Gottlieb’s speech that he talked about how an online vaping ban is definitely “on the table,” going as far to say it’s something they’re “very clearly looking at.” While he did roll back those claims by saying that level of regulation isn’t a serious consideration yet, the fact it’s even on the table at all is very concerning for the vaping community.
Gottlieb went on to reaffirm his stance that vaping has become an epidemic among the youth. They use this “epidemic” to justify what Gottlieb called a “historic crackdown” on vaping. For now, we can assume he means e-liquid flavors, but even this would be a massive blow to the vaping industry in America. Making matters worse is that the large-scale evidence we have on the subject seems to strongly indicate that the teen vaping epidemic is seriously overblown. A poll of over 60,000 students found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping as a habit.
FDA’s Continuing War On Vaping
This information from the FDA commissioner is only the latest in a long line of anti-vaping moves made by the agency. The campaign against vaping goes back as far as the Obama Administration when the Pre-Market Tobacco Application fiasco first began. For those who don’t know, the FDA decided back in 2016 to legally place vaping products under the jurisdiction of tobacco regulations, including the PMTA. Essentially this meant that for any new vaping product to be brought to market, they must be able to pass the same level of strict and expensive applications that Big Tobacco does when introducing a new tobacco product.
In a move that gave some hope to the community, Dr. Gottlieb extended the deadline for the PMTA to take effect until 2022 as one of his first major moves as FDA commissioner. Unfortunately, since then he’s only continued the push against vaping, including a major probe into possibly banning all e-liquid flavors except tobacco and menthol. In fact, just earlier this month the FDA sent letters to five major vaping brands requiring them to submit a plan on how they’re fighting teenage vaping within 60 days.
It should be clear to anyone paying attention by now that the FDA is simply on a witch hunt against vaping. Taking a step back and looking at the growing amount of research should at the very least give the FDA pause. Instead, they continue to rapidly move to mitigate the effectiveness of e-cigarettes by severely limiting flavor choices, or now even banning online sales altogether. Not only is vaping at least 95% safer than smoking, but it’s also been shown to be the best smoking cessation tool we currently have. So while smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease, the FDA appears more concerned with stopping vaping than helping smokers quit. Given how much we have to gain, the FDA needs to start supporting the benefits of vaping instead of undermining them.
Do you think the FDA is mainly concerned with blaming vaping for teenage smoking? How should we work toward a better understanding of the benefits and risks of vaping? Is it essential that more of the general population understands how much safer vaping is than smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.