Commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently announced a “new action plan” on vaping that could change everything
Over the past couple of years the FDA, lead by Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, has been taking a serious look at vaping. The main concern all this time, according to Gottlieb is to stop what he continually refers to as a teen vaping “epidemic.” He’s made it perfectly clear that utilizing vaporizers as a tool to help adult smokers quit combustible cigarettes is unimportant.
Recent pushes by the FDA to fight vaping have included requiring thousands of pages worth of information from manufacturers, countless stings targeting underage sales, as well as new regulations on packaging and advertising. They have even recently rolled out a new anti-vaping campaign in conjunction with their anti-tobacco marketing. But things may be getting worse as now the FDA has announced they will be rolling out a “New Action Plan” in mid-November.
The New Action Plan
There has already been a lot of speculation on what this new plan could be. Gottlieb has discussed the possibility of bans before, and if that is the route the FDA will choose, it will mean some significant changes to the vaping market in the US.
The type of ban that has come up most often is a flavor ban, which would ban the sale of all e-liquids flavors except tobacco. The research we have on this type of ban shows that it would most likely lead to many vapers reverting to smoking. Another option the FDA could take would be the banning of online sales outright. This would have a massive impact on vapers, as it would limit their options to what can be found in local vape shops.
One of the more extreme scenarios would be a ban on all non-PMTA (Premarket Tobacco Applications) compliant vape products. This would mean that any product developed after February of 2015 would be banned, since the FDA has yet to approve any vaping company for a PMTA. This is an especially stifling proposition considering the leaps and bounds in vaping advancements that have been made in the past few years.
The Truth Of The Matter
The treatment vaping has received from the FDA is unreasonable. They are ignoring study after study proving the fantastic benefits of vaping, in favor of perpetuating the hysteria that drives sales. A widely regarded study from Public Health England, the FDA equivalent in England, concluded back in 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Another study found that the likeliness of a vaper developing cancer is 57,000 times lower than a smoker of similar background. If that wasn’t enough reason to support vaping, a study out of the University of Louisville found that e-cigarettes are actually the most effective tool at helping smokers quit.
Furthermore, the epidemic that Gottlieb is so concerned about doesn’t match with the information we have. Gottlieb has even had the FDA take actions against vaping companies without sharing their reasoning, which is quite suspicious. The data gathered to this point shows that only 0.1 to 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever take up vaping. This means that, like with the adult vaping population, most teen vapers are former smokers looking for a healthier alternative. There is also no evidence whatsoever that shows people who have never smoked and take up vaping would then move on to start smoking cigarettes.
What actions the FDA will take next are unknown, what is known is that they will likely have a massive impact on the vaping industry in America. Some nations are on the path to being tobacco-free within the next few decades, but it seems the FDA would rather have America take a huge step back. Gottlieb has let it be known that the amazing public health benefits that could happen if vaping was supported, is simply not that important to him. Instead, he aims to prevent teens from being attracted to the product, a concern that has been proven overblown.
Some sources are telling vapers to stock up on their favored products while they can. While that is all well and good, and some will want to take those precautions, what is actually important is that you let your voice be heard. Write to your representatives, write to the FDA, let them know what vaping has done to improve your life. Let them know how you will struggle if they prevent access to these products. Educate others; when public opinion changes, when people realize the truth, then public policy is more likely to change for the better. Until the “new action plan” is rolled out, this is all we can do.
Are you worried about the FDA’s new action plan? How can we protect teens while still helping smokers quit effectively? How should we teach other about the benefits of vaping? 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.