Public health expert blasts ‘bizarre FDA vaping retail restrictions’

The vaping community is abuzz over a recent announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its long-anticipated PMTA process is finally confirmed and slated to begin within months.  Manufacturers of vapor products released to market prior to February 15, 2007 must submit a Pre-Market Tobacco Application for FDA approval by a nearing date that is yet to be officially determined, but insiders expect the deadline to fall in the range of four to ten months. 

In hindsight, however, there were signs that this ramping up of regulatory actions was imminent and perhaps even growing more severe in months leading up to their rollout.  One such example occurred in early March 2019 when the FDA released its draft compliance policy which attempts to restrict the sales of flavored vapor products through conventional brick-and-mortar retailers.

While industry-specific vape shops would be excluded, gas stations, convenience stores, and pharmacies were not.  For consumers in more rural areas who are trying to quit smoking through vaping, their access to vapor products would be severely limited, leading many public health experts to question the true motives behind the new FDA guidelines. 

The FDA is caught in an ‘auto-induced moral panic about the teen vaping’

The United Kingdom’s Clive Bates is one such public health expert who firmly believes that the FDA is overstepping its bounds of authority.  In an op-ed published in April entitled Bizarre FDA vaping retail restrictions more likely to do harm than good, the former Director General of the Welsh Government and Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made his opinions clear.

“Caught in its auto-induced moral panic about the teen vaping epidemic, the FDA has decided that it would be better if certain vaping products were harder to get hold of than cigarettes, and the ones that were easiest to get hold of should be the ones most like cigarettes – tobacco and menthol flavour. This seems entirely mad to me and riddled with the potential for unintended consequences that would increase smoking in both adults and adolescents…”

Related Article:  NYU study shows FDA endorsement of vaping would save ‘millions of life years’

Yes, Bates suggests, no official of the federal government should ever endorse or promote teen e-cig usage.  That’s a given. But labeling teen vaping a national epidemic just because a few youngster are experimenting occasionally with e-cigarettes– rather than the combustible tobacco products of generations past – is no reason to incite fear, chaos, and “bureaucratic harassment” among the adult vaping community.

“The main effect will be on adults: it is the casual bureaucratic harassment of law-abiding adults while they try to obtain regular supplies of products they are using as alternatives to smoking.  It won’t take many to relapse to smoking to blow any conceivable case for these measure right out of the water.”

Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, is responsible for releasing the new regulatory proposal, and in all fairness, he also allowed the creation of a website to solicit feedback from anyone who might be interested, including medical personnel, anti-vaping activists, and pro-vaping business owners.  Still, Mr. Bates believes these vaping FDA retail restrictions are “entirely mad” and a complete waste of time, not to mention a great detriment to public health. 

Related Article:  Is vaping doomed? New PMTA deadline may be just 4-months away

(Image courtesy of CliveBates.com/YouTube)

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