From healthcare reform to possible Russian collusion in the 2016 election, party-line politics has perhaps never been more divisive than at this time in history. Even regarding FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the American vaping industry, Republicans overwhelmingly tend to support their repeal while Democrats want to keep them in place. But there is one Democrat who has been a long-standing supporter of vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking, and his name is Attorney General Tom Miller from the majestic state of Iowa.
It takes guile and gumption to break from one’s own political party, regardless of the legislation up for debate, and AG Miller is no stranger to taking a courageous stand against the FDA. He has been a vocal advocate of vaping as a smoking cessation tool since 2015, when the FDA deeming regulations were still only a glimmer in eye of then-President Obama.
Once the regulations were officially enacted, Miller famously took to the floor of the FDA’s November 2016 Tobacco Conference in Washington, DC to publicly admonish the agency’s Mitch Zeller for creating such diabolical anti-vaping guidelines in the first place. But Miller isn’t stopping there. On June 14, 2017, he and twelve other public health experts from across the globe jointly penned an urgently worded letter to the new FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asking for his intervention.
AG Tom Miller joined by Clive Bates, David Sweanor, and others
The fact that Miller is a nine-term Democrat is being taken very seriously within the American vaping community which lacks considerable numbers of allies on that side of the political aisle. Perhaps due to his reputation as a lone wolf in a pack of vape-hating Democrats, Miller recently traveled to London last year to thank the Brits for their many achievements in e-cig science. He also might have been on a quest for some new, vape-friendly politicians that he could befriend, even if they happened to come from “across the pond.”
Perhaps it was during this trip to London that AG Miller secured a relationship with Clive Bates and David Sweanor – two world-class vaping advocates whom many vaping enthusiasts know so well. Bates and Sweanor also signed Miller’s letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb along with several other leaders in tobacco control, public health, and the health sciences medical community. The letter is published online via the website of the Iowa Attorney General and contains the following excerpt.
“There is already a considerable body of science and experience suggesting that a harm reduction approach, working together with the established evidence-based prevention and cessation tools of tobacco control, could yield substantial and highly cost-effective public health benefits. However, this will only be achieved if the right regulatory framework for less harmful products is adopted. We support FDA jurisdiction for these products, but at this time we do not believe that the current regulatory framework for the low-risk nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is appropriate or will deliver the substantial public health benefits we hope and expect FDA’s oversight will bring.”
AG Miller also makes clear that while e-cigs sometimes contain nicotine, they are also 100% tobacco-free and smoke-free. Cigarettes are deadly because of the resulting smoke that is laced with noxious tar, toxins, and carcinogens. And according to the UK Royal College of Physicians, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.
Miller wants Gottlieb to publicly acknowledge this fact and lead the fight to revise or repeal the FDA deeming regulations in regard to vaping products. He also wants Gottlieb to clean up some of the misinformation coming from the mouths of FDA officials like Zeller and others.