FDA Friday: July 4

Hello all, and welcome to another edition of FDA Friday. Well, given that it’s the fourth of July and most of you should be getting ready to celebrate, let’s take a quick look at some of the good news.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Kentucky overturned a Bullitt County indoor smoking ban. This doesn’t sound like great news for public health, and in many ways it may not be, but in the court’s 6-0 decision to overturn the ban, it asserted that the ban was actually about the steadily increasing power of regulatory agencies. It turns out that the ban was instituted by the county’s Health Department, and not by any elected officials or lawmakers.

In its decision, the court expressed concern about “an increase in the aggregate power of administrative agencies over the recent decades, if left unchecked, invites the ascendance of a fourth branch of government—the regulatory state,” as bipps.org reported.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Indeed, vapers’ current struggle against the FDA’s proposal to deem electronic cigarettes to be “tobacco products” is very similar. While many advocates expected legislation of some kind to come through at some point as a consequence of the increasing popularity of vaping, one of the most frustrating aspects of the FDA’s current position is how little of it, in its originary stages, was open to public debate, and how much of it, now, remains obscure.

As we have stated before, more information and stronger science work to everybody’s benefit, but it does the public very little good when unelected bureaucrats begin to infringe on the job of elected representatives.

Speaking of which, Michael Siegel reports that Stan Glantz, an FDA-funded anti-nicotine pundit, who July 3rd defamed vaper’s associations such as CASAA as tobacco-industry front groups, is, perhaps ironically, actively working to protect tobacco industry profits by opposing vaping. Siegel notes, rightly, that e-cigarette associations have been lobbying against attempts to classify e-cigs as tobacco products in order to reduce the competitive advantage of traditional cigarettes. Thus, by attempting to restrict vaping, Glantz, writes Siegel, is acting much more in line with what one would expect from a tobacco front group.

This is, of course, yet another example of unelected officials using their power to enforce legislative solutions to their pet projects. That Glantz is funded by the FDA, however, is cause for concern. If the FDA is indeed using Glantz and his credentials as a sock puppet in an attempt to discredit proponents of vaping, it would seem as though they are acting contrary to the interests of science, democracy, and public health. No federal regulatory organization ought to need this level of astroturfed support unless their goals are far more sinister than they appear to be.

In order to combat exactly this kind of ideological pseudo governance, there’s actually a petition up right now on change.org asking Democratic party members and lawmakers to respect science and not to accept misrepresented data that is employed to produce increasingly restrictive legislation. Sign and share it. It’s a sad state of affairs when Democratic supporters are forced to seriously consider voting Republican just to keep themselves away from tobacco.

So, to keep this post limited to the good news, here is as good a place as any to stop. Happy Fourth of July, all, and don’t forget to celebrate by doing your part for CASAA, through the aforementioned change.org petition, and by being awesome!

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