Now a CNBC Contributor, Former FDA Chief Gottlieb won’t shut up about vaping

The former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems to have landed a new gig as a CNBC Contributor, and during a Friday appearance on Squawk Box, the man doubled down on his teen vaping epidemic conspiracy theories.  While Tuesday’s release of new smoking statistics by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that teen smoking is at an all-time low, Gottlieb still maintains that underage vaping is a national “epidemic.” 

Gottlieb blew threw a number of topics in short order.  He discussed his long-running war against Juul, the FDA’s loss of a recent court case surrounding the agency’s approval process for vaping products, and the looming vape ban in the city of San Francisco.  And during a particularly noteworthy interaction, Gottlieb seems to have forgotten entirely that these odd events took place during his tenure as FDA Commissioner.

“Well, you know, I think they’re (San Francisco) in a bind right not because the epidemic is growing at such a great proportions.  The FDA made a very interesting announcement about two weeks ago.  They made a representation to a federal court. So, they lost a federal court case in Maryland around the application delays that they had implemented around e-cigarettes.  The courts said, ‘You have to require applications right now.’  The FDA came back and said, ‘We’re going to require applications within 10-months of these manufacturers and give them 10-months to give applications.’  That would have had to undergo a high level of scrutiny within the Administration.  So now that the FDA has put out that marker that applications are going to be due in 10-months, I think it’s going to be very hard walk away from that….We had moved up that deadline, but this ruling moves it up even further.”

The “they” in this statement refers to the Gottlieb Administration of the FDA, but he doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to blast Juul specifically, saying that the world’s largest manufacturer of vapor products is very unlikely to ever receive FDA approval within the 10-month deadline, if ever.

“You know, Juul really created this phenomenon.  The acceleration in youth use that we saw in 2018 that caught us all by surprise is a Juul phenomenon.  All or most of the growth among kids is in the Juul product….  I think Juul is going to be in a hard spot to ever get their product approved, quite frankly.  They have so much historical youth use with their product. I don’t know how they’re going to prove a net public health benefit with that history of youth use.“

Nowhere in his statements does Scott Gottlieb address the real issue here.  Why is San Francisco proposing a city ordinance to ban vaping without at least doing the same for combustible tobacco products?  And nothing against legalized marijuana in California where weed dispensaries are abundant, where does this issue fit into the bigger picture?

While the vaping community is well aware of Gottlieb’s angst over teen vaping and Juul, one has to wonder how the current head of the FDA feels about his predecessor constantly going on live TV to essentially throw him under the bus.  Ned Sharpless is currently the Acting Commissioner and hopes to be confirmed at some point by the United States Senate.  Yet, here is Gottlieb appearing on Squawk Box as a paid employee of CNBC attempting to deflect everyone’s attention away from the fact that Gottlieb himself is responsible for the mess that Sharpless finds himself in today. 

Related Article:  GOP Senator: FDA Gottlieb’s views on weed, tobacco & vaping ‘raise suspicion’

(Image courtesy of CNBC Squawk Box)



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