While it has taken him some time to get around to actually doing it, President Donald Trump has long known that Scott Gottlieb was going to be his nomination to become the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, better known as the FDA. Gottlieb was Trump’s top choice and is expected to start serving as FDA commissioner soon.
And once Gottlieb assumes his new position and starts serving as FDA commissioner, all eyes are going to be fixed squarely on him when it comes to a variety of different issues. As FDA commissioner, Gottlieb’s job will be to oversee about a dozen subagencies that exist within the FDA. These agencies are responsible for making some really important decisions pertaining to the things people put into their bodies everyday.
Gottlieb’s appointment is going to be especially important to the vaping community. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in recent months, you know that the FDA is planning to crack down on vape shops and vapers as a whole in the coming years. Strict new regulations are going to make it nearly impossible for the vaping industry to continue growing like it has over the last decade.
So will Gottlieb help or hurt the cause of vape shops and vapers? At this point in time, it’s really too early to tell. Gottlieb has some things in his past that lead us to believe he’s the right man for the job, but he also has some things that suggest he might not side with the vaping community once he takes over as FDA commissioner.
Here is a breakdown of how things might go under Gottlieb…
How Gottlieb Might Help the Vaping Community
As we just mentioned, it’s impossible for us to say whether or not Gottlieb is going to come in and automatically side with vapers. He will be in charge of overseeing the Center for Tobacco Products, and he will have the power to force current CTP director Mitch Zeller to step down. But he could also decide not to make any changes at all in a worst-case scenario for vapers.
That being said, there are some things in Gottlieb’s past that suggest he might be willing to make positive changes for the vaping community. Back in 2013, he actually wrote a report for Forbes about how the FDA was trying too hard to appease those who are outspoken against tobacco products.
As a result, Gottlieb wrote about how certain activists in that community were against products like e-cigarettes since they argued that they were simply extensions of the tobacco industry, even though that’s not the case. He made it seem as though he would fight back against these people if he were in charge of the FDA, and he might very well decide to do that.
Another things that has us encouraged about Gottlieb is that he has worked closely with the American Enterprise Institute, which is a group that has typically been in favor of promoting vaping in the past. This leads us to believe that Gottlieb has, at the very least, held discussions about vaping and understands its general importance to those who vape.
How Gottlieb Might Hurt the Vaping Community
While everything that we just said is certainly encouraging to the vaping industry, we should also point out that there’s a chance—and maybe even a good chance—that Gottlieb is not the guy we want running the FDA right now.
One of the biggest criticisms of Gottlieb over the last few months has been that he is someone who is very closely connected to the pharmaceutical industry. He has served on boards for companies like GlaxoSmithKline that produce nicotine alternatives, and that in and of itself would suggest that Gottlieb might be more inclined to side with these companies over vape companies.
Pharmaceutical companies have been very vocal in the past about how they do not want vaping to be recommended as a smoking alternative, because it could conceivably make a huge dent in their profits. So having an FDA commissioner in place who is in bed with these companies could be a total disaster.
Fortunately, there are people who have gone on the record and said that Gottlieb is open to having honest discussions about important issues and hearing all sides before making his mind up on them. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to change course and suddenly say that vaping is OK in the FDA’s mind. His close ties to pharmaceutical companies might not allow it.
Why You Should Pay Attention to What Gottlieb Does
We would imagine that the FDA’s stance on vaping is probably not the first thing Gottlieb is going to want to address as FDA commissioner. He’s going to have a lot of important issues that will all need to be dealt with.
But the FDA has acted swiftly with regards to vaping in recent months and years, so he’s going to have to say something about the FDA regulations that are being put into place at the beginning of his tenure. And it will let us all know exactly what to expect from him.
Ideally, Gottlieb will come out and say that he thinks the FDA needs to rethink its approach to vaping regulations. That would be the best thing for the vaping community and would potentially eliminate a lot of problems right away. It would give hope to hundreds of vape shop owners.
But even if Gottlieb speaks in vaguer terms and doesn’t commit one way or another to how the FDA is going to regulate vaping, we should all keep a close eye on how he handles vaping during his first few months on the job. It could have a big impact on all of us and change the course of the vaping community in the near future.
While we all wait to see what Gottlieb does, you should take some time to let President Trump know how you feel about the FDA’s vaping regulations. At this point, every little bit helps, and it’s important for us to continue to speak out against the regulations that will affect all of us one way or the other.