The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) irrational war on electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and vape devices are running out of room to fight in the court of public opinion. According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the evidence shows that after years of research and debate, e-cigs are in fact, not only effective in getting smokers to quit traditional cigarettes but also help them stay off smoking twice as effective as nicotine gum or patches.
In light of the comprehensive report, Director of Public Policy Patrick Hedger of the non-partisan group FreedomWorks, took the opportunity to issue a statement regarding the FDA’s continued war on e-cigs, stating “Tobacco use kills 480,000 Americans annually, so why is Commissioner Gottlieb trying to ban safer alternatives that help people quit smoking? This study, funded by the U.K.’s National Institute for Health Research demonstrates exactly why E-cigs and vaping products are a benefit to public health.”
Hedger is right, with the evidence provided why isn’t the FDA packing up shop and leaving e-cig producers alone? Time will tell what FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will choose to do but until then the anti-e-cig war machine will continue to wage on.
In a 2018 piece published at the Washington Examiner, contributor Guy Bently reported on the intentions of the FDA’s pursuit of eradicating the e-cig industry. In his article, Bently stated that the FDA “driven by the remorselessness of its own regulatory logic, is marching down a path that could see more than 99 percent of e-cigarette products taken off the market by 2022.”
The campaign to kill e-cigs isn’t directly being led by Gottlieb and his FDA bureaucrats but in fact, an iron triangle of big tobacco lobbyists (who lose a customer each time someone quits cigarettes), elected representatives (who earn votes among middle-class families by targetting anything related to drugs, alcohol, or smoking), and regulators trying to justify their jobs by crafting more red tape and regulations.
While the primary FDA campaign against vaping and e-cigs is crafted on the narrative that teens are obtaining e-cigs and other devices such as Juul (the bestselling e-cig product who already committed upwards of 30 million dollars to combat teenage vaping), the fact remains that teens, like adults, have always been capable of obtaining illegal substances. While it should not be understated that teen nicotine use is unhealthy and ill-advised, the FDA is choosing to attack a real benefit for adult smokers that could potentially save lives, and instead focusing entirely on the premise that teenagers are obtaining devices and substances they cannot, should not, legally obtain in the first place, which is a separate problem entirely and a distraction from the main issue at hand.
So the question remains; if we know the truth about e-cigs, and the experts know the truth about e-cigs, how long until the FDA starts to realize the facts are against them?
With the iron triangle of interest groups (big tobacco lobbyists), Congress (self-interested politicians), and the federal bureaucracy (the FDA), the war on e-cigs might continue to rage on and inflict lasting damage unless real change is made from the ground up. So how does that change occur? By hitting the weakest side of the triangle by organizing with your community of advocates to force your elected officials to change their stance or sponsor/co-sponsor legislation to stop the irrational war on e-cigs. By leveraging the power of your vote, the one tool you have that lobbyists and regulators don’t, real change can occur.
In a country where nearly half a million Americans die from smoking-related cancer per year, the answer at this point is obvious. With the growing amount of public support and indisputable facts backing them up, the war on e-cigs is starting the show that the FDA can choose to be on the wrong side of history, or step aside so adult smokers can obtain access to a wider market of safer alternatives.