As rumors of a possible FDA ban on flavored e-liquids spreads across the vaping industry, an eerie tweet from the agency’s Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is getting a great deal of attention. Posted on February 17, Dr. Gottlieb seems to be issuing a warning to American vapers. Stop underage vaping or face the consequences.
In just 43 short words, the vaping community gets an inside look into the mind of the FDA Chief regarding the possible future of vaping. The tweet in question simply states the following.
Vapers had high hopes when Trump tapped Gottlieb to run the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb had been a previous major investor in the KURE e-cig company, and he was also said to be very close friends with pro-vaping Jim O’Neill of NJOY fame.
But his close ties to Big Pharma led some vapers to more cautious about the new commissioner right from the start. Gottlieb has also been a paid consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest and most politically powerful pharmaceutical companies and a leading manufacturer of more conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like the patch and nicotine gums.
The Gottlieb tweet may be significant
The vaping community is somewhat divided on the issue of teen vaping. Some vapers have very strong feelings about retailers peddling e-liquids and vape mods to kids. Others feel that the allegations surrounding teen vaping have been grossly exaggerated by anti-tobacco groups and mainstream media.
Meanwhile, the issue of “vaping as a gateway to teen smoking” also ruffles the feathers of many American vapers on both sides of the argument. Study after study seemingly indicates that the reverse is true: teens who experiment with vaping rarely evolve into long-term smokers. Even a recent CDC report seems to refute the gateway theory.
So, when the FDA Commissioner starts talking about teen vaping in news conferences, in publicly issued press announcements, or on Twitter, it can be very easy for some vapers to turn a blind eye and assume that this is just more anti-vaping propaganda designed to placate the masses. But are American vapers wrong? Is the Gottlieb tweet a warning sign that things are about to get really and truly ugly, especially regarding a possible flavor ban?
As more and more cities like San Francisco and Berkeley, California, propose local legislation that prohibits the sales of flavored e-liquids, federal public health officials are also taking note, including FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb. The public outcry against vaping seems to be escalating, and the vaping community should probably start fighting now to protect their rights to buy cotton candy and bubblegum flavored e-liquids before it’s too late.