Outgoing FDA Chief wants to ban vape pods on his way out the door

The current commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Scott Gottlieb is thought to be leaving his post on April 5.  His temporary replacement will be Ned Sharpless of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland.  Most political pundits believe Sharpless will support his predecessor’s current anti-vaping policies until such time that a permanent replacement is appointed by President Trump.

In a meeting last week at the Brookings Institution, Chief Gottlieb stated that he is considering yanking vape pods entirely from the marketplace in his years-long effort to curb teen vaping.  And the action could happen within days.   The proposed move follows what appears to be a rather contentious meeting, also of last week, where Gottlieb met with representatives of Juul Labs and The Altria Group.

Gottlieb confronts Juul and Altria executives over teen vaping allegations

In late 2018, Altria paid a whopping $12.8 billion to become a major shareholder in the world’s most profitable vaping company.  As a direct result, Juul now has immediate access to the store shelves of over 300,00 retailers in Altria’s portfolio.  Miffed by the transaction and perhaps feeling a bit duped, Gottlieb summoned the two companies to Washington, DC for an immediate confrontation.

Related Article: Sleeping with the enemy: Juul closes $12.8 billion deal with Altria

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the meeting between Juul, Altria, and Gottlieb did not go well.   Gottlieb feels that there is a “disconnect” between the companies’ marketing policies and the priorities of the FDA regarding public health.  Gottlieb continues to insist that teen vaping is reaching epidemic proportions, and the popularity of juuling is apparently largely to blame.  

‘” The e-cigarette industry has been overly dismissive’ of the risk that kids could become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarette use, Gottlieb said on Tuesday at the Brookings Institution. ‘We’re capturing an exploding epidemic right now.’”
“Gottlieb said the FDA is working on defining exactly what constitutes a pod-based product in case it needs to temporarily ban them. Sales of vaping pods could resume if manufacturers show that their devices are geared toward adult cigarette smokers trying to quit, and not kids.”

However, Gottlieb seems to have blinders on when it comes to pod-based vaping.  He is ostensibly unaware that there are other retailers using this technology other than Juul.  His hatred of Juul may be clouding his judgment and causing him to act irrationally

Meanwhile, Gottlieb has less than a week to successfully define a “pod-based product” and to implement the temporary ban. Gottlieb further stated that “the FDA is going to have to very carefully calculate its action against the entire category of pod-based products,” which implies that the ban is a high priority and likely imminent before his departure.  Meanwhile as the vaping community braces for yet another FDA assault, the city of San Francisco is simultaneously proposing a regional ban on the sales of all vaping products – vape mods, electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, and everything in between.

Related Article:  Seigel blasts San Francisco’s proposed vape ban as ‘insane’

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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