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Groups Ask President to Curb Anti-Vaping Crackdown

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The Food and Drug Administration may be trying to crack down further on the vaping industry to curb youth vaping, however there is a group of conservatives and libertarians that are going above and beyond to steer the president in a different direction.

A letter, which was sent to the White House in February, included signatures of members from the Americans for Tax Reform, ALEC Action, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Goldwater Institute. The Washington Post reports that the letter urged President Donald Trump “‘pump the brakes’ on the administration’s crackdown on e-cigarettes, arguing that the anti-vaping efforts will hurt ‘an innovative industry that is helping American smokers quit.’”

The letter specifically called out FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, stating that he is waging an “aggressive regulatory assault” on e-cigarettes.

While concern for youth vaping is of concern, the letter went on to say that Gottlieb has spread “regulatory panic and significant government overreach,” citing the long-debated argument that in curbing youth vaping, regulations, bans and other laws are hurting adults. “Private sector initiative and sound public policy should not be held hostage by prohibitionist impulses,” the letter said.

Gottlieb had initially swayed a bit toward e-cigarettes as potential harm reduction tools for adults trying to kick the smoking habit after becoming commissioner in 2017, but in the past year youth vaping data has spurned him into stating that youth vaping in the U.S. is an “epidemic.”

Last November, Gottlieb asked for legislation that would prohibit flavor sales, with the exception of stores that don’t allow minors or have adult-only sales sections. Menthol, mint and tobacco flavors also were exempt from his proposal. He also asked that flavored e-cigarette sales in convenience stores be “sharply restricted.”

Additionally, he recently was interviewed by The Washington Post and said that “while the FDA supports the role of e-cigarettes in helping adults quit smoking, ‘it’s now clear that widespread and sometimes reckless marketing of these products has come at the expense of addicting a new generation of kids on tobacco.’” He has threatened marketers who apparently aim marketing toward children — which is a subjective concept — that he may make huge bans toward the industry, especially with flavors, pending pre-market review. What exactly the standards will be are yet to be revealed.

While both sides continue to debate the issues, recently studies, such as the New England Journal of Medicine’s research that shows people trying to quit smoking “were almost twice as likely to succeed if they used e-cigarettes instead of conventional nicotine-replacement therapies such as patches and gum,” are great for our industry’s cause.