Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation in a letter to the agency’s staff. A few days later, Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer called on Gottlieb, asking him to ensure a ban on flavoured e-liquids is in place before leaving the agency.
Similarly, last month a CDC spokesperson claimed that the introduction of vaping products in the US, has halted the progress in the declining smoking rates which began in the 90’s, and in line with many other health entities the agency has put pressure on the exiting commissioner to crack down on teen vaping.
The FDA pressured to curb teen vaping
“…we don’t look back at this critical point in the history of e-cigarettes as a missed public-health opportunity to help health-concerned smokers addicted to cigarettes.”
In response to this pressure, Gottlieb has assured that the agency will continue on its path to eradicate teen vaping. “I think there is widespread recognition that this is a major public health crisis. I think for the vaping community and the tobacco industry this is an existential threat,” he said, adding, “I don’t think they fully appreciate what they’re facing and the tsunami that they’re facing if we don’t get this under control.”
In line with this, in the op-ed co written with Alex Azar, Gottlieb has once again reiterated that the FDA is considering taking some serious actions against the vaping industry unless youth vaping rates drop in the coming months. “The e-cigarette craze among teenagers has become an epidemic,” the two wrote in the joint op-ed.
“We agree with those who believe that e-cigarettes may offer a lower-risk alternative for adult smokers who still want access to nicotine. But the continued availability of this opportunity to adults is being endangered by the e-cigarette industry’s slowness to address the dangers its products pose to teens,” they continued.
“While we pursue changes to regulatory policy, we call on the industry — manufacturers and retailers — to step up with meaningful measures to reduce the access and appeal of e-cigarettes to young people.”
Trying to find a balance?
Azar and Gottlieb did point out that regulatory efforts must account for the “potential for e-cigarettes to help addicted cigarette smokers successfully transition to this alternative form of nicotine delivery.”
“We hope that, years from now, we don’t look back at this critical point in the history of e-cigarettes as a missed public-health opportunity to help health-concerned smokers addicted to cigarettes. But regulators and public health officials have no choice but to combat the youth trends forcefully and follow available science to guide policy.”
Read Further: The Hill