FDA Friday, June 27

Welcome to another edition of FDA Fridays, where we discuss various important, interesting, and sometimes depressing news about the FDA’s proposal to enact a de facto ban on e-cigarettes.

Today’s news is more interesting than anything else. As it happens, Reuters reported that the White House watered down the FDA’s proposed restrictions on e-cigarettes by a fairly large margin. Moreover, it seems as though the White House intends to enact a review phase on the portions of the FDA’s proposal that pertain to e-cigarettes before they become law.

Sounds great, right? What movement would want the Executive Branch of the government watching their backs?

Well, yes and no. First off, the report discusses actions the White House’s Office of Management and Budget took before April, when the proposal was released to the public. It’s hard to tell whether or not the White House truly supports vaping, or if it is just being careful about possible expenditures. Moreover, there is no way to tell what the official position is at this time. Most of the reporting on this news overlooks this crucial detail.

Either way, it’s still nice to know that the Office of Management and Budget outright deleted a clause that would have banned online sales.

What’s really interesting about the Reuters’ coverage is actually about cigars, the part of the FDA proposals that we haven’t been covering here. The premium cigar industry seems to have completely avoided regulation, even though their products, unlike e-cigarettes, clearly contain tobacco. It is entirely possible that the proposed regulations on one class of product may in fact be a smokescreen to facilitate the adoption of regulations about another. This is a very cynical way to look at what’s going on, but politics is what it is.

If you’re interested in seeing what the Office of Management and Budget cut out of the proposed regulations before they were published, click here, and look for “supporting documents.”

Well, that’s some good news at least. Maybe the White House supports vaping. And that online shops are less threatened than we may immediately have thought. And indeed, maybe the e-cig proposals are meant to draw attention away from the more germane cigar proposals. Who knows. Either way, keep on lobbying. The deadline for public commentary on the proposed regulations is now August 8th, so all our hard work has been effective. Let’s keep at it, and save our lungs.

 

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