It’s hard to imagine the incoming Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner going after the vaping industry as aggressively as outgoing FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has.
After all, Gottlieb led the charge in declaring youth vaping an “epidemic”, an opinion soon supported by the CDC and the U.S Surgeon General. He hauled the major vaping company executives into his office for a “come to Gottlieb” moment, and even gave them homework – requiring the executives representing Big Vaping to submit detailed plans within 60 days to explain what they would be doing to prevent teens from using their products. He called out JUUL specifically for its use of social media in attracting teens, and muscled them into removing flavored pods from physical stores, and increasing its online age verification protocols. In November, the FDA banned all sales of flavored juice and pods from non-age restricted stores, including most convenience stores. And shortly before announcing his resignation, Gottlieb also threatened to stop all e-cigarette sales completely if the industry didn’t do more to police itself to stop the rise in youth vaping.
But Gottlieb also viewed e-cigarettes as one of the most effective methods to help smokers quit, and was working to fast-track FDA approval for e-cigarettes as a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). And many anti-vaping groups were upset when he allowed the vaping industry more time to comply with the FDA’s new deeming rules.
Gottlieb, a physician and a father of three young daughters, was determined to stop a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine. However, he also aimed to help adults to quit smoking, with the most effective tools available.
When the news of Gottlieb’s resignation first hit, many vaping and vape juice companies rejoiced – but until the new FDA commissioner is announced, the industry shouldn’t be breaking out the champagne just yet.
While Gottlieb has stated that he expects his successor to continue with his work to stop the epidemic of teen vaping, the President and his administration are decidedly anti-regulation – so where the new FDA commissioner will fall on this spectrum is very much up in the air – landing anywhere between a deregulation-crazy candidate, or a nominee who wants to take Gottlieb’s vaping regulation efforts another step (or twenty) further.
The nominee for the post will likely face a long confirmation process so Trump may leave an interim FDA commissioner in place up until the 2020 election. The most likely candidate is Gottlieb’s right-hand at the agency, the research-driven FDA Deputy Commissioner, Amy Abernethy.
Soupwire will continue to bring you the latest on this developing story and other vape news.