Scott Gottlieb is leaving the Food and Drug Administration. His successor needs the courage and determination to help millions of Americans stop smoking through less-harmful alternatives.

The announcement last month that Dr. Scott Gottlieb will resign as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has widely been seen as a victory for the vaping industry and producers of other alternative nicotine products. His tenure was marked not only by an intransigence towards accepting the health benefits of vaping over smoking, but also some extremely short-sighted policies towards traditional smoking, chief among them the idea of removing nicotine from tobacco.

Ultimately, Gottlieb’s greatest failing was not his zealous championing of nicotine temperance, but his failure to use the tools Congress gave him to help create a comprehensive national approach to tobacco and nicotine products. In this area, his time at the FDA has maintained a deadly status quo, because in helping Americans quit smoking, every day wasted costs lives.

There is little to no doubt that vaping and other alternatives to smoking are less harmful than setting tobacco on fire and inhaling its smoke. Although it is not entirely clear what harmful effects vaping might have, it is clear that it’s better for nicotine users than combustible cigarettes. This suggests a fairly obvious need for the FDA to encourage vaping rather than crack down on it, which all too often was Gottlieb’s approach, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

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David Marcus – The Federalist – March 11, 2019.

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