One of Donald Trump’s promises after being elected President was that he would cut government regulations on businesses. With the FDA regulations for e-cigarettes currently being protested by many politicians, Trump and his allies appear to have the right attitude to effect positive changes that save the vaping industry.
While the President himself has not expressed an opinion on vaping, his nominee for FDA chief, Scott Gottlieb, has. A doctor and fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Gottlieb has made statements that suggest a positive view on vaping. He is also an investor in a vaping company, Kure. Though he has promised to divest his interests in the company and stay out of any decisions involving it for a year, opponents of vaping don’t like the fact that a pro-vaper is being nominated for FDA chief. But Gottlieb refused when asked to agree that flavors of e-liquid should be banned.
In addition to Gottlieb, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, voted against the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA authority over tobacco products. Conservative politics in general has a more positive view of vaping than liberal politics, though the current legislation to ease the FDA e-cigarette regulations is a bipartisan effort. If passed, this legislation will go a long way in saving many small vaping businesses by allowing most current vaping products to remain on the market without the need for expensive testing.
Though Gottlieb also has many ties to the pharmaceutical industry, which is unofficially in competition with e-cigarettes even though e-cigarettes cannot legally be called smoking cessation products, he has shown a belief in the potential of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit. His general attitude towards the FDA has consistently been that the agency tends to over regulate and delay the process of getting important products on the market. Gregory Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association, says he is hopeful about the future of the vaping industry now that Gottlieb is poised to take over leadership of the FDA.
Critics of vaping, which include many anti-tobacco organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, have shown no signs of slowing down on their efforts to restrict access to vaping products as much as possible. Armed with numerous studies that support their agenda, anti-vapers claim that vaping is a gateway to smoking, especially for young people. New studies also keep popping up with evidence that e-cigarette vapor may contribute to health problems like cardiovascular disease and resistance to bacterial infections, but critics of the science behind these studies say that the research tends to be biased.
It can be expected that vaping will continue to be under fire from opponents who, for various reasons, are against it and see it as the same thing as smoking. But now with conservatives in control in Washington and the pro-business attitude of the administration, changes for the better could be coming.