The Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, resigned this week, citing a desire to spend more time with his family which includes three young children, and the difficulty in commuting from Washington DC to his home in Connecticut.
“I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to help lead this wonderful agency, for the support of my colleagues, for the public health goals we advanced together,” Gottlieb said in a statement.
The news came as a shock to many, as the FDA is in the process on several major new initiatives, including many to curb what Gottlieb has called the “epidemic” of teen vaping.
Gottlieb is a former physician, venture capitalist, and drug company consultant who is best known for his position on teen vaping as an epidemic. Many of his signature initiatives have received bipartisan support, from the FDA’s actions to stem the country’s opioid epidemic, to his efforts in bringing generic drugs to market more quickly, lowering prices for consumers.
In 2017, Gottlieb unveiled his aggressive plan to reduce nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes, and also delayed the implementation of cumbersome and expensive new regulations for vaping companies, otherwise known as the vapocalypse.
But in late 2018 Gottlieb and the FDA began cracking down on e-cigarette manufacturers, threatening to stop the sale of flavored e-liquids, and later all e-cigarettes if the manufacturers did not find a way to stop minors from illegally accessing the vaping products.
Scott Gottlieb resigned. So what’s next for the vaping industry?
Gottlieb has taken a two-pronged approach to vaping and e-cigarettes, making every effort to curb vaping and tobacco use by teens, while simultaneously seeking to speed the pathway for FDA approval for e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, calling e-cigarettes, “an important opportunity for currently addicted adult smokers to transition off combustible products and onto nicotine delivery products that may not have the same level of risks associated with them.”
Gottlieb’s plan to dramatically restrict the sale of flavored e-liquids, which are also highly popular with legal adult vapers, is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
We, like you, will be holding our breath.
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