I have been following FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Twitter and was alarmed at the threat he issued to vapers and the vaping industry in response to recent trends in US adolescent vaping.
If this is his analysis, @SGottliebFDA hasn’t tried hard enough to understand what is – and is not – a material risk in these youth vaping numbers. Yet he appears willing to put millions of adult lives at risk by imposing regulatory overkill on a life-saving product for smokers. https://t.co/HB64pgtjRJ
— Clive Bates (@Clive_Bates) January 13, 2019
I disagree with the FDA’s analysis of what is happening with adolescent vaping and also what should be done about it. So I need to put some flesh on the tweet above and examine some of FDA’s claims in more depth. Please dip to these talking points… it’s a long blog but I hope at least some of it will be illuminating.
- Adolescent vaping is not an ‘epidemic’
- Vaping is not the same as nicotine addiction
- There is more to tobacco addiction than nicotine dependence
- Most adolescent vapers are not ‘hooked on vaping’ whatever anecdotes you might hear
- Most adolescent vapers are not regular or daily users
- Frequent vapers are likely to also be smokers and this may be positive for public health
- Not all vaping is with nicotine
- Marijuana use may be inflating the vaping numbers
- Nicotine is not “uniquely harmful” to the young developing brain
- Vaping is a low priority risk behaviour among adolescents
- E-liquid flavours may be beneficial to public health and adolescents
- The flawed and disturbing ethics of trading-off youth vaping and adult smoking
- It is not possible or useful to separate the welfare of adults and adolescents
- We do need a mature debate about nicotine, but FDA won’t have one
- FDA is the enemy of innovation
- “It’s the smoke, stupid” (and we are winning)
- A significant ‘gateway effect’ from vaping to smoking is not established and not likely (new)
Clive Bates – The counterfactual – January 23, 2019.