FDA’s Gottlieb: If teen vaping doesn’t drop at ‘astonishing’ rate, FDA will kill vaping entirely

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is taking to mainstream media once again to address concerns over his agency’s recent actions to ban certain e-cig flavors from brick-and-mortar retailers.   In another interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Gottlieb stated that things could get much worse for the vaping industry if he doesn’t see an “astonishing” decline in teen vaping rates rather quickly.  In fact, he even specifically states that all vaping products may be effectively taken off the market entirely if something doesn’t change fast.

Gottlieb began the discussion by referencing recent data corroborated by both the FDA and the CDC which indicates a nearly 80 percent rise in teen usage of e-cigarettes over the past 12-months alone.  He also addresses the possible health advantages of flavored e-cigarettes for adult smokers trying to quit. However, if push comes to shove, he clearly states that substantially reducing teen vaping usage is far more important to the FDA than trying to appease the adult vaping community.

Gottlieb threatens to revise PMTA process for vaping products yet again

In the Squawk Box interview, Gottlieb indirectly references his agency’s 2017 extension of the Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process by approximately five years and as per the 2015 FDA deeming regulations.  According to Gottlieb, this extension was granted specifically because the FDA sees the potential advantages to public health that e-cigs provide.  But with so many kids vaping now, he may have to rethink and pull back the extended PMTA deadline which would essentially kill the vaping industry entirely.

“If you talk to adults, and the data does demonstrate that flavors are one component for some adults that are an important factor in why they would switch from a regular cigarette on to these e-cigarettes.  So, we don’t want to completely forestall these opportunities, but the alternative to the action that we announced yesterday will be to pull in the compliance dates for all the products required in the filed applications which could effectively take them off the market.”
“We really need to see these rates come down.  It’s not enough just to slow the rate of growth in teen use.  We need to reverse the trends that have taken hold in the recent years – or really in the last year.  This is a public health priority of ours right now.  And I do think the actions we took are robust enough that they’re going to have an impact, but we may have to look at other things.  Remember, we also announced yesterday that we are looking to advance the rulemaking process to ban menthol in the combustible cigarettes, but also in the characterizing flavors in cigars and cigarillos.”

Another topic of discussion was the recent raid on the offices of Juul Labs some months ago.   Gottlieb does admit that his agency has not yet reviewed the totality of the documents confiscated, but he has already seen progress by several vapor companies including Juul as they attempt to rein in their kid-appealing marketing practices.

Still, after watching the Squawk Box interview in its entirety, many vaping viewers are often left with the foreboding feeling that Gottlieb is deadly serious.  If teen vaping rates do not decline sharply and quickly, he will kill vaping.  Period.

Related Article:  The new FDA vaping rules are here, and they aren’t as bad as expected

(Image courtesy of CNBC and Squawk Box)

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