President Trump recently placed Scott Gottlieb at the head of the US Food and Drug Administration, giving vape advocates some renewed hope for the future of the industry. Gottlieb himself is invested in a vape chain and has voiced some support for the technology in the past. However, the waters are murky when it comes to how much good he can do for vapors given his ties.
Gottlieb and the Vape Ban
First and foremost, Gottlieb has stated that he wants all FDA regulations to be based on real science, not fears or conjecture. As such, he has maintained that vapor products need to be thoroughly looked into as a means of harm reduction and smoking cessation.
He has come out against the haphazard deeming of e-cigarettes as being the same as traditional tobacco products in general. Nevertheless, he has conceded that the risks of flavored vapor products also need to be considered when it comes to protecting children, and he has not stated whether or not he will support an outright ban on certain fruit and candy flavors.
Vape manufacturers are at least somewhat hopeful that he is taking a cautious stance towards the issues and encouraging people to look at the research before making any judgments.
Kure and Recusal
Perhaps more troubling to vape advocates is Gottlieb's ties to one particular vape chain. Gottlieb's investments in Kure have given vapor opponents ammunition to demand that he recuse himself from any decisions involving vapor products in the future.
He has already promised to give up his holdings in Kure and separate himself from the brand, as well as voluntarily recusing himself from any vapor decisions for a period of one year, but many people argue that is not sufficient distance between him and the industry.
If the pressure remains on him to stay out of all vapor-related decisions, it could be difficult to leverage his support as the new deeming regulations come into play.
Looking to the Future
Whatever happens with Gottlieb's stake in Kure and his recusal for the next 12 months, he remains outspoken about respecting the science and research that has given birth to vapor products in the first place.
He continues to argue that vapor products deserve a greater investigative period before they are regulated. His stance is a welcome one, assuring vape companies that the fight is far from over, and there may be some hope for the vapor industry receiving better treatment from the FDA.