Vaping advocate Tony Abboud of VTA takes to CNBC to fight for adult vapers

During a recent interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch, the Executive Director of the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) Tony Abboud discusses rumors that the FDA may be banning the sales of flavored vape products within the coming days.  The ban will likely only target pod-like products purchased from local convenience stores, gas stations, and other brick-and-mortar establishments, for the time being. 

However, history has also shown that government regulation can be a very slippery slope.  Opening the door just a crack can lead to an onslaught of even stricter regulatory actions in the future.

Related Article:  Is FDA planning convenience store vape ban for next week?

In recent months, the FDA and its Commissioner Scott Gottlieb have been cranking up the anti-vaping rhetoric by classifying teen vaping as a national “epidemic.”  While Mr. Abboud makes clear that he does not endorse underage use of e-cigarettes, he also reminds CNBC viewers of what makes vaping so critically important and potentially life-saving for millions of adult smokers trying to quit.

 “We also have to keep in mind something really important which is bigger news this week which is that the CDC and the FDA announced that the adult smoking rates has again declined.  It is now at the lowest rate ever, down to 14 percent. It’s an historic low. And whatever policies that the FDA is considering, we have consistently said they have to keep the adult smoker squarely in the focus of whatever they do next…”

The reporter then asks Mr. Abboud if the vaping industry is claiming credit for these historic decreases in adult smoking rates across the United States.

“I think it is very hard to look at the data and suggest that e-cigarettes have nothing to do with the decline in cigarette smoking. The decline which has dropped now, they say, by 65 percent since 1965 is dramatic, but if you look actual rate of decline, it’s much more aggressive since the time that e-cigarettes have (risen) to prominence.  And I’m sure that there are other reasons why cigarette smoking continues to decline and education is one of them, but the reality is that you cannot ignore the fact that there is a rise in e-cigarette use and a corresponding decrease in cigarette smoking.”

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CNBC’s Medical News Correspondent Dr. John Torres then joins the discussion which immediately takes a swift turn towards juuling specifically.  Much like many recent public statements made by FDA Chief Gottlieb himself, the controversy regarding Juul products lies predominately in its unique design that is particularly appealing to teenagers trying to hide their e-cig use.

“When Juul came out with this device – it’s a pod-like device that actually looks like a large USB stick and so it’s easy to hide.  It has that ‘cool factor’ that when you talk to high school students, they say, you know, it’s ubiquitous in my high school.  Children are using it all over the place.  Teenagers, they can hide it from their teachers.  They can hide it from other classmates.  And it’s one of those things that’s very easy for them to use.  They can even hide it from their parents.  And so it’s gotten that cool factor, and I think that’s why, at least at the teenage- those ages there – it took over the market…and it’s really proliferating the school systems.  And that’s one of the big concerns that the FDA has.“

Thankfully, the CNBC reporter veers the conversation towards a rather obvious point.  If the FDA is so concerned with flavored vapes, then why is the agency still allowing the sales of flavored combustible tobacco products to continue to be purchased from the very same brick-and-mortar retail outlets?  Mr. Abboud agrees that the inconsistency in FDA regulatory actions preferring one nicotine delivery system over another has the potential to produce some very serious unexpected consequences to public health.  The interview is posted for review on the CNBC YouTube channel.

To be clear, the basis for the rumors is stemming from recent articles posted by both CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.  Both articles reference unnamed sources for their information.  Neither organization is reporting a firm date for the possible FDA ban implementation, but a late November rollout date is anticipated. 

Related Article:  JUUL joins Altria by stopping sales of fruity vapes in brick-and-mortar venues

(Image courtesy of CNBC Power Lunch)


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