In a letter sent on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Since being sworn into his role in May of 2017, Gottlieb has been commuting back and forth between Washington and his home in Connecticut on a weekly basis. According to his letter, the reason behind his resignation is to spend more time with his family.
Although his letter of resignation came as a surprise to most, some have speculated that this has been in the works for months, which led Gottlieb to send out a Tweet countering the speculation.
What Does This Mean for the U.S. Vaping Industry?
When Gottlieb was appointed FDA Commissioner, his stance on vaping seemed positive overall, which brought a little bit of relief to the vaping industry as he unveiled a new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that seemed to take a more sensible approach to vaping regulations. However, during his time as FDA Commissioner, Gottlieb turned much of his focus to youth vaping, which he referred to in a statement in 2018 as an “epidemic” and cited as one of the main reasons “a regulatory process that keeps these same electronic cigarette products out of the hands of youth” is needed and is already well underway.
Gottlieb went on to discuss the negative impacts of youth vaping, stating: “I’ll be clear. The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products”, The remainder of his statement discusses the steps the FDA has taken, and plans on taking in the future, to support this commitment, including the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan released earlier that year.
While we can all agree that e-cigarettes are not created for kids and should not be marketed as such, the goal of the FDA is to protect public health overall, so we can only hope the next appointed FDA Commissioner keeps the health of both the nation’s adults and the nation’s youth in mind when it comes to vaping regulations.