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Senator Ron Johnson sends 3rd Letter: Big Things Come in Small Packages, but Tragedies Come in Threes

Wooden puppet sitting on wooden background
Persuading vapers into thinking that politicians work for the people ? Read third part

Three times a charm? Or, is it 3 strikes and you’re out!? Since this is Senator Johnson’s 3rd letter, is this a hockey hat trick? A basketball 3-pointer? A football field goal kick? Or is it a more suitable analogy to suggest the urban legend that “all tragedies come in threes?” Either way, no matter what the metaphor, there are countless cultural references that include the number 3, whether it deals with glory, tragedy, mediocrity, settling, charms or strike-outs – this Senator must eventually take things a bit further (and I surely am not suggesting drafting letter #4 next month).

It’s almost or exactly equal to the crazy ex-boyfriend who just can’t take the hint from who he believes to be his one true love, who unfortunately does not feel the need to respond because in reality, his true love has had a number of ex-boyfriend’s – how is this ex any different from the others? Take a hint man, she doesn’t feel the same way about you. Or perhaps you’re about to have a letter sent to you in the form of a restraining order – you wanted a response, you got one now.

All joking aside, though my sarcasm is at a high intensity level presently, Senator Johnson is undoubtedly making a statement nonetheless. Who truly knows his genuine intentions on this matter? I’m not sure he knows, but I guess we got to at least give him an “A” for effort since the action of “just trying” is widely-celebrated in the U.S. nowadays rather than actually trying your very best. Remember the days when going the extra distance, pushing it to the limit and exceeding expectations were recognized as a prerequisite for being rewarded? Now, even when your childhood team loses the game, you still are awarded a trophy – as if participation only is an accomplishment.

Perhaps this is why the vaping industry is in such turmoil, we have conformed to a culture that congratulates mediocrity, a society made of groups who feel good about themselves for writing letters rather than taking real action by mobilizing a demonstration or making a widely-televised statement or at least posting a series of informative YouTube videos. Writing Letters just will not get the job done. Sure it raises eyebrows and creates some sensible feeling of hope or a decent amount of enthusiasm, yet “direct action” is what always seems to sufficiently assist several others in getting what they want.

How Many Letters Will It Take? Will the FDA Comply? Or, have they Already Responded?

Stack of old envelopes and letters on kraft paper

Low and behold, by the power of greyskull, the FDA apparently drafted a response in writing to the Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, in which most of the written text involved was literally just repeating rhetoric that was already known and available to the public. Not to mention, the FDA basically spelled out their justification and reasoning in a way that suggested that even though they didn’t understand the technology behind Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) – apparently this is their way of referring to “Vaping” (seemingly a word they wish for the general public to never become familiar with), they reiterated how they still had the authority under the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act to regulate however they see fit. That is, until they learned more about how the products operated, they feel regulations were necessary since “ENDS” were such an unknown and relatively new technology that has been attracting teenagers at a disturbing rate. For instance, they wrote:

“The rule is the beginning of the process of the regulation of e-cigarettes, and the other products covered in the final rule. That regulatory framework will evolve over time as we learn more about the products. Now that FDA will finally have regulatory authority over these previously unregulated products, the Agency can expand its knowledge base regarding these products”Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

This response sounds almost as if they were drafted by an Intern rather than a high-ranking FDA official. What in the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower are they talking about? It is unfortunate that the general public is typically plagued with fear-mongering news stories 24/7, so they do not actually have the time or interest to pay attention to this nonsensical pleonastic language the FDA is using to justify their hegemonic practices.

What Exactly Did Johnson’s 3rd Letter State? Chairman Sen. Johnson did not seem to view the FDA response as sufficient.

It was obvious this response was by no means satisfactory for Senator Ron Johnson. Though the FDA letter presumably was dated as being sent on June 16th, still, the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee website posted this: “Sen. Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, demanded further answers from the FDA on Friday after sending a third letter to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf seeking information on the recent e-cigarette regulation.” In the 3rd letter, Johnson also states:

The FDA’s statement is concerning. Rather than conduct research to better understand the effects of the product prior to regulating, the FDA chose to issue a rule without a proper understanding of the product itself. Because federal regulatory agencies seldom shrink their own jurisdiction, the FDA’s action could result in a far-reaching regulation that fails to consider the regulatory impact on small businesses selling e-cigarettes, product innovation, and the public’s health.

Chairman Sen. Johnson wrote a much more sufficient letter a third time around when compared to the information he included in his 2nd letter. It was far more detailed and was even more insistent than the first two letters altogether. Senator Johnson states:

In my initial letter, I asked the FDA for data on the number of e-cigarette businesses that will be affected by the rule. The FDA gave an inadequate response that lacked the requisite details. Further, the FDA noted that it did not possess some important information about the economic effect of the rule, writing that “[t]he baseline number of manufacturers and importers of [e-cigarette] products is uncertain.”Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee

The FDA’s acknowledgement that it has, at best, incomplete information raises questions about the adequacy of the FDA’s justification for the rule. Further, many job creators in the e-cigarette industry fear that they will be forced to shut down if the rule is implemented. Without a concrete understanding of the rule’s effect on a growing industry, the FDA’s decision to implement this regulation could lead to the elimination of thousands of jobs and businesses.

(https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/majority-media/chairman-johnson-demands-further-answers-from-fda-on-e-cigarette-regulations)

At the site listed above, you can read Senator Johnson’s entire 3rd letter as well as the initial FDA response in it’s entirety (all 7 pages of it’s content unfortunately provides no clear, concise answers to Chairman Sen. Johnson’s main questions nor his initial requests). In order to reflect the strange language the FDA continually has been using all throughout, it only seemed natural to follow in their footsteps – therefore, the FDA reply primarily consists of “harebrained gibberish.”

The FDA is acting like a robotic entity, repeating the same words and phrases we’ve all read or heard them frequently write and recite over and over, again and again. It is not necessarily out of context to suggest their written reply was a copied and pasted version of a memo which was most likely sent out to business owners throughout the vaping industry, due to it’s nondescript and senseless justifications – the very same collective confusion they’ve been spewing to all the unfortunate small business owners that will be negatively affected by these severe restrictions.

Brief Personal Reflection on the FDA Overreach: Where is the public outcry?

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As I write this, I am still in a state of disbelief that these regulations are very much slowly, but surely becoming reality. Overall, I’m very disappointed in my own country, the same country I was born in, the same country I love, the same country I will always live in, the same country that taught me so many valuable lessons, the same country that has allowed me to learn the principles of morality, the same country that gave me an education, the same country I would die for to protect, the same country where the vast majority of my friends and family take shelter, the same country that has previously filled my heart with hope has now become the country that has left me feeling confused and empty. Why is this happening?

In all honesty, it’s far too obvious that many others probably feel the same. However, it’s not outrageous to speculate whether or not the FDA truly knows why this is even happening? Or, more likely, they do know, but they can’t say. To disclose the information behind why such a severe stance has been taken, regulating the Vape industry nearly out of business altogether could also be very damaging to the image of our social system.

For those of you who are not vapers or do not understand the act and art of vaping, you may feel as if I’m being far too dramatic. However, you would never understand unless you were a chronic tobacco abuser who was now freed from the burdens of consequences ranging from disease to death. I cannot make you understand and I guess I do not expect you to. Yet, I do somewhat expect  you to relate to feeling disappointed or attacked by unconstitutional abuses of power and unAmerican restrictions forced on your lifestyle.

What if the federal government told you they were installing rules that would negatively affect your friend’s lifestyles and your own lifestyle?

For example, even though more people have died from playing Pokemon Go than anyone has even been minorly injured from Vaping, people are still not at all restricted from wandering into dangerous areas to achieve the challenging feat of capturing a mythical cartoonish creature-like character, essentially achieving the goal equal to accomplishing absolutely nothing, in hindsight (my deepest apologies are extended to the Pokemon Go community for devaluing the talents and hard work that accompany this unfathomable, yet esoteric trend).

Regardless, what if the federal government told you they were installing rules that would negatively affect your friend’s lifestyles and your own lifestyle? In which these same rules will eventually destroy an entire industry that has saved millions of lives – many of which are lives of people you know and love as well as your own life? In actuality, how would you feel? I’m assuming you may feel slightly concerned, disappointed and act in ways that can be considered somewhat dramatic. Well, this is exactly what is happening to the vaping community.

When All’s Said & Done, Unexpectedly the FDA Did indeed acknowledge the Challenge from Senator Johnson: Does this mean we should Respect their Efforts?

Relaxing on the top of the mountain

Nevertheless, the FDA response was irrefutably a show of professional courtesy and I absolutely applaud the FDA for their efforts, once again, another example of getting an “A” for effort – however, since it’s the FDA, perhaps we should grade them with the same letter their name begins with – for those who may not follow my sarcasm, they would be graded with a big capital “F!”

In any event, I truly do respect them for “trying” and actually sending a response, their effort is far better than ignoring this situation altogether – they certainly seemed to ignore answering Senator Johnson’s initial inquiries for long enough, so a response in the form of 7 pages is fairly respectable, yet allow me to reiterate, they never directly addressed Johnson’s actual questions.

The format in which the FDA response letter was drafted made it seem as if the FDA were indeed answering each and every one of Johnson’s questions and concerns. For example, listed below is an excerpt from the FDA response. See how they carefully phrase their statements as if it is what Johnson was expecting to see or hear back. For example, listed below is a direct excerpt from the FDA response:

fda-response

As you can see, the FDA drafted their response in a way as if they were directly addressing the specific questions that Senator Johnson sent to them initially. Yet, they did not answer these questions, they addressed the fact that he made specific inquiries, but just failed to answer them properly.

The Most Helpful Reference of All

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In an article from the Winston-Salem Journal titled “Senator Seeks Answers from FDA on e-Cigarette Regulations” written by Richard Craver provides clarification easy enough to fully comprehend – a practical explanation. In brief, Richard Craver writes:

The FDA’s responses to Johnson’s questions came in a June 16 letter and a July 8 presentation to the committee that Johnson said repeated previously disclosed information.“The American public deserves complete answers from the FDA about its rulemaking,” Johnson wrote. He said he wants a complete response by 5 p.m. July 29. FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said Friday that the agency is reviewing the letter and “will respond directly to the senator.” Johnson’s letters could play a role in slowing, or even halting, the Aug. 8 implementation of most new FDA regulations that were disclosed May 5 for nicotine and tobacco product innovations. Johnson said his questions address the potential reduced-risk role that e-cigs, vaporizers and hookahs could play in public health, and the new regulations’ effect on small e-cig and vapor companies.

(http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/senator-seeks-answers-from-fda-on-e-cigarette-regulations/article_0ecc1e5d-d0ed-5432-9239-a0e02035a029.html)

What are Johnson’s true intentions behind his letters, all three?
That is some very helpful information provided by Richard Craver, the most helpful source in all of my research. Craver was instrumental in allowing the Vape Industry and the general public to widely understand and expand their mind-sets on all the basic principles of any general inquiry – consisting of who, what, why, where and when? Chairman Sen. Johnson’s remarks in his 3rd letter were potentially a reflection of the Senator’s true feelings on how the initial FDA response made him feel. It seemed as almost Johnson himself felt disrespected and devalued.

In all honesty, this FDA Response Letter sent to the Senator that was purely reminiscent of a vague explanation and vacant clarification – still, this may very well be what determines the answers many Vapers are curious to know, which is “What are Johnson’s true intentions behind his letters, all 3?” Johnson might be just as concerned as Vapers since his 3rd letter surely seemed more heartfelt and sincere than his 2nd letter. We could only hope for something so meaningful and potentially effective.

Is the FDA simply Fanatical? Or perhaps, Huge Fans of the Prohibition Era

The post made by the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee website was titled “Chairman Johnson Demands Further Answers from FDA on E-Cigarette Regulations.” When I first laid my eyes on this announcement, I was extremely shocked that the Republican Senator from Wisconsin proactively made another move at challenging the Food & Drug Administration for their blatant abuse of power – basically, it is not at all inaccurate to suggest that the FDA is attempting to install Prohibition in this country once again, as if we were living in the “Roaring Twenties” (not assuming people do not comprehend, but this refers to the time period of the 1920s – during the Prohibition of Alcohol).

Apparently the FDA wishes to relive a horribly dangerous, crime-ridden era filled with infinite woes and terrifying uncertainty where alcohol was illegal and bootlegging was a billion dollar enterprise. Which side of history do they truly want to stand? Perhaps most of the FDA are hardcore Al Capone fans and diehard fans of the former HBO Series “Boardwalk Empire.” At this juncture, how could we rule-out these outlandish suggestions as motivators for their tyrannical process of decision-making?

Will the FDA Regulations cause Vaping to be Entirely Eradicated from Existence?

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All in all, no matter what regulations they throw at the vaping industry now, years down the road, the Vaping community and especially the vaping advocates will eventually prove their points with scientific data – perhaps with the assistance of the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K., a highly reputable organization the FDA has largely ignored). The vape advocacy movement will, at some point, convince the public that it is a notion of pure irrationality to compare regular cancer-causing, disease ridden tobacco cigarettes to the safer alternative of vaping nicotine. Vaping is the future, there is no doubt about that, it’s only a matter of time. The FDA is merely delaying the inevitable. Vaping will never die.

Not only was I extremely shocked about Sen. Johnson once again seeking some form of a reply from the FDA, I was nearly taken by surprise since I began writing about this topic just days before the committee posted this information. Considering this, initially, the title of this article was at one point “Senator Johnson: Where is He Now?” Yet, now, given this developing information has literally made me feel slightly relieved. I was thankful that the Senator has kept up with following through once more on this side-project he’s undertaken. I was additionally thankful for understanding that impatience is never the answer, yet punctuality is crucial in nearly every life situation.

Reflecting on Johnson’s 3rd Letter: Will Writing Letters make a Difference? If not, What will?

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“Politicians are like diapers, they should be changed frequently – and for the same reasons.” (Robin Williams in “Man of the year”)

Now, we have reached a point where 3 letters have been sent, in which the second letter was much more brief yet also far more insistent, but we’re all still waiting to hear if anything will ever come of these initial 3 actions made by the Chairman. Sure, the FDA sent in inadequate written response, but will Johnson’s actions, especially the 3rd letter change anything in the harsh regulatory overreach by the FDA?

To summarize the most recent developments: in his 3rd letter, Senator Johnson is demanding the FDA provide a better explanation, a more adequate response along with all the appropriate documents supporting their claims for such severe regulations. However, it is more important to remember that Johnson’s hope for an FDA explanation is not as highly anticipated as the community of vapers’ expectations to see far more direct action taken by Senator Johnson and the Senate Committee in which he is the chairman.

Honestly, who thinks writing makes a difference? If you’re confused, that’s a good thing because I’m obviously joking since I make my living from writing, which I think writing does absolutely make a difference by raising awareness – it’s much more effective than failing to act or react. However, I am not a politician, nor would I ever want to be one. I was just reminded of this because I saw the late-great Robin Williams tell a joke that was far more comical than my sad, ironic attempt to amuse you at the beginning of this paragraph. Regardless, the joke I heard was in the film “Man of the Year” in which Williams states, “Politicians are like diapers, they should be changed frequently – and for the same reasons.” Get it? Much funnier, right?

At this pace, he’s on course for 6 whole letters for the FDA this year alone.
Considering this, I’m not claiming that Senator Ron Johnson is entirely full of sh!t. Yet, at the same time, he could very well be full of something other than honesty or determination, after all he is a politician and we are all now well-aware of the analogy of diapers and politicians. However, I certainly applaud Senator Johnson’s efforts for sending his written letters to the Food & Drug Administration. At least “Johnson From Wisconsin” is taking matters into his own hands.

Well, there is at least one vaper – the one who is covering this particular story, who tends to deeply care a great deal about handling the FDA more firmly rather than just by writing bi-monthly letters. At this pace, he’s on course for 6 whole letters for the FDA this year alone – that’s quite a bit monetarily in total postage, which I’m certain is funded by our tax dollars. It’s always the money! Stamps are not free, at least they weren’t since the last time I researched this concept (disregard my elevated sarcasm as I continue reflecting & ranting all throughout).

Conclusive Sociological Interpretations

many documents at the office

Overall, this entire situation is oddly fascinating and also a tad bit confusing. Many vapers felt the action of writing the FDA and addressing these issues with insistence about receiving a rational response was slightly hopeful, helpful, and empowering for the vaping industry nationwide.

My concern is that the hype about Johnson’s 3 letters sent to the FDA became so popular so quickly and stirred up all types of excitement, yet now these letters have seemingly become a non-issue to the FDA, nothing to be concerned with since they did indeed respond rather vaguely – as if they’d prefer these demands become lost and forgotten relics amidst the chaos we call the United States of America.

In any event, throughout Part 5 of this research series, we will discuss the overall sociological analysis of these research articles – focused on the actions of Senator Ron Johnson. We will highlight a comprehensive review of the inquiries made by Senator Johnson – all 3 letters he sent to the FDA. Not to mention, we will look at some other elected politicians who are supporting the vaping movement as well as who else should be in favor of disputing these regulations politically.

Additionally, perhaps we’ll also further dissect the overall effects these severe regulations will have on the vaping community in much more detail and if Senator Johnson can be the savior of the vape industry that many have already assumed him to be. It is recommended for you to continue reading this series until its conclusion, which is Part 5. Until then, remember to always scratch the surface whenever something itches you, in the sense that it lacks to emit any emotional comfort or psychological rationale, chances are, there are sociological principles fully able to provide more comforting clarity.


There’s more to read!

Know everything about Senator Ron Johnson challenging FDA vaping regulations by reading our next chapter :

Read the fifth and last Part