18 Right-wing groups urge Trump to ‘pump the brakes’ on FDA anti-vaping regulations
A coalition of right-wing and libertarian activist groups sent a letter to Donald Trump on Monday demanding that his administration stop its antagonistically anti-vaping rhetoric immediately. The letter most especially criticizes the Trump-appointed Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb. The conservative groups claim Gottlieb has been waging an “aggressive regulatory assault” on the American vaping industry that is even more severe than the preceding Obama Administration, and it’s time to “pump the brakes.”
“Throughout your 2016 campaign and over the past two years, your administration has achieved such great outcomes with regards to lessening the burden of government on small businesses and taxpayers. We ask you to direct the FDA to pump the brakes on its new regulatory efforts against an innovative industry that is helping American smokers quit.”
The right-wing organization Americans for Tax Reform led by its President Grover Norquist believes that Gottlieb’s persistent threats towards the American vaping industry do not match with the president’s current regulatory agenda. While Trump has spent much of his first two years in office deregulating the coal, gas, and manufacturing industries, Gottlieb has seemingly gone in the opposite direction.
The FDA Chief has already pulled flavored vapor products from the store shelves of non-age-restrictive retailers like gas stations and convenience stores. He’s also continuously threatened to implement new regulatory actions that would essentially ban nearly all vapor products currently on the market.
Meanwhile, the FDA is simultaneously failing to approve thousands of pending PMTA applications on new and improved devices. In doing so, the letter further states, jobs are being destroyed and product innovation is being stifled which only jeopardizes public health even further.
“From inaction on pending product approvals, to threatening letters sent to American manufacturers, and promises to begin new rulemaking that would make illegal certain consumer products, this FDA is currently pursuing several policies that are more extreme than those contemplated by the Obama administration. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s effort to curb the $6.6 billion electronic cigarette industry and an even larger reduced risk tobacco alternatives market is inconsistent with your clearly articulated deregulatory objectives and will destroy jobs, limit consumer freedoms, and harm public health.”
What about teen vaping?
Gottlieb’s anti-vaping rhetoric almost always seems to center around one predominant issue, that of teen vaping. In press interviews, he’s repeatedly claimed that FDA data suggests a nearly 80 percent increase in underage vaping in 2016 alone.
In late December immediately after pulling certain flavored vapor products from the store shelves, Gottlieb issued yet another threat. If teen vaping rates do not decline sharply and quickly, then he may just ban vaping products altogether, including adult sales and e-commerce sites.
The right-wing groups understand Gottlieb’s concern regarding “use of e-cigarettes by teens.” But by threatening to ban vaping across the board, he’s essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The letter strongly urges Trump to look at the Gottlieb’s anti-vaping policies with significantly more “scrutiny.”
“We do not write you today urging your administration to ignore the concerns about the use of e-cigarettes by teens. We do, however, urge your administration to subject the FDA’s response and actions to much closer scrutiny and examine it within the context of your broader deregulatory and pro-jobs agenda.”
The supportive letter from these eighteen right-wing activist groups is long overdue. Yes, Trump has his faults, but the letter signed by Norquist and his colleagues may just be the wakeup call that he needs to get back in the game and perhaps, save vaping once and for all.
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