The FDA has targeted a number of manufacturers: Juul, MarkTen, Vuse, Blu and Logic. Why? Because it discovered that most of the illegal sales being made to underage purchasers involved their products. Rather than simply targeting the shops, petrol stations and street stalls responsible (which it is doing too), the FDA is going after the manufacturers in a minority section of the industry.
It is like clamping down on the illegal theft of cars by threatening to force Skoda and Morgan to manufacture vehicles without wheels.
Scott Gottlieb is wibbling about vaping being an “epidemic” in a way that must bring tears of joy to anti-vape campaigner Stanton Glantz’ little hairy face. All the Californian data manipulation, lying and hysteria – in the face of proven fact that teen vaping and smoking rates have fallen and are continuing to fall – has led to this point.
"We're especially focused on the flavoured e-cigarettes” - Gottlieb
Gottlieb said: “Everything is on the table when it comes to enforcement. We’re seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavoured products from the market.”
“The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a trade-off for enabling adults to have unfettered access to ecigarettes. I use the word epidemic with great care. E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous and dangerous trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”
“We're seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavoured products from the market” – Gottlieb
"We're especially focused on the flavoured e-cigarettes, and we're seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavoured products from the market. I'll be clear. The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a trade-off for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products."
Sarah Jakes, spokesperson for the New Nicotine Alliance, said: “Any last hope that the FDA intends to capitalise on the public health value of smokers switching to vaping flew out of the window with Gottlieb’s statement on Wednesday.”
“Gottlieb doesn’t understand the importance of flavours for adult vapers” – Sarah Jakes, NNA
“It is difficult to believe that with his background, Gottlieb doesn’t understand the importance of flavours for adult vapers, or the massive bonus he apparently intends to hand on a plate to the traditional tobacco industry.”
“By now it should be abundantly clear to anyone that Gottlieb intends to destroy the vibrant, innovative consumer led industry that is the vape market and leave the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries to fight over whatever is left.”
“The losers, as ever, will be consumers. Vapers and smokers who might otherwise switch will be faced bland, mass-produced products, vastly reduced choice and presumably any flavour they like as long as it’s tobacco.”
“You couldn’t make it up.”
But ‘making it all up’ is precisely what those campaigning against vaping are doing. They are making up the dangers, inventing fears and driving a prohibitionist agenda through the heart of harm reduction.
Gottlieb offered much promise when he came to office. Now it appears all he offers is succour to his hidden paymasters in the pharmaceutical and tobacco industry.
Share prices in tobacco companies rose rapidly (for the first time this year) immediately following the launch of the FDA’s press release. If Gottlieb can’t connect those dots, or if he simply doesn’t care, then he has to resign immediately; his actions amount to either abject incompetence, corrupt practices or a combination of both.