Second, enacting such legislation seeks to undermine the actions of the FDA in its current initiative assessing the continuum of risk posed by certain tobacco products as well as its focus with regard to combating the addictiveness of cigarettes, which was stated by FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb in July 2017 and has started to take shape recently with the agency’s investigations into possibly implementing a nicotine concentration standard in combustible cigarettes.
In addition, although Gottlieb recently chided the e-cigarette and vapor industries regarding their purported targeting of youth, he has stated that there is also some evidence that e-cigarettes and vapor products are useful in helping adults transition away from smoking combustible cigarettes. Although Gottlieb, through the FDA, is trying to use sound science and a reasoned approach to assess the continuing and evolving role of tobacco products in our culture, Sens. Durbin and Murkowski now seek to simply throw the baby out with the bath water.
Overall, this proposed legislation is still in its infancy and may not advance past committee, but it serves as a lesson to the industry that in light of shifting attitudes on the role of tobacco products in our society, Congress is not afraid to shoot from the hip and take rash actions without considering all the factors in play.
This story first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.
–Contributed by Andrew Schmidt, an associate counsel at Kretek International