Trump’s FDA shake-up – what does it mean for vaping?

With the race for the White House now finished, the incoming President-elect Donald Trump is another source of controversy for the government – but amid all the turmoil, some say that he is capable of making at least one sound decision.

Along with his aides, including Newt Gingrich, Trump considers the FDA a deeply flawed agency which is in serious need of regeneration – and one of the industries that may benefit from this is vaping.

In a similar move to the TPD launched in Europe, the FDA recently launched the ‘Deeming rule’. This has stringent guidelines that classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, despite containing no tobacco – and that any new vaping devices would be illegal to sell without extensive testing from August 2016 onwards.

While in theory extra research to ensure safer products seems a great idea, in reality the FDA has been known to ‘sit’ on data regarding possible side effects of products if that data could affect sales for large companies, leaving campaigners calling for more transparency.

 

Trump’s actions may remove Deeming rule

The Deeming rule does little to promote healthier living through vaping, but instead bills e-cigarette companies for the 1,700 hours of labour that each new product will require before reaching market.

For large companies, including those from Big Tobacco who are moving into the vaping industry, the $1 million cost per product is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to their profits – but for smaller companies the fee could be enough to put them out of business forever.

If Trump and his administration can improve the way the FDA functions and repeal the Deeming rule, he may achieve one step in the right direction to appease his critics. This would be fantastic news for vaping businesses and their customers.

However, with a cabinet increasingly filling with wealthy businessmen and politicians with their own agenda, the world can but hope that Trump also uses this opportunity to improve the agency’s reputation, rather than fiddle the books to bolster profits for himself and those with whom he does business.

More about the FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has led a long, and somewhat controversial life since its inception in 1906.

It was established with the aim of ensuring that any products that are eaten, ingested, applied or smoked (including medical prescriptions) are safe for public consumption; and that those products are freely available to those who need them – with a non-biased approach to the companies who manufacture them.

Of course, like many federal agencies it has been the subject of many scandals over the years, with accusations of corruption as well as appearing to show preferential treatment towards large companies.

In 2009, scientists from within the FDA itself wrote a letter to President Obama asking for big changes to be made to the agency, as they found that proven research was being ignored, and results from clinical trials were being altered in order to ensure that large pharmaceutical companies could bring their products to market.

The scientists also believed that the ‘higher-ups’ were corrupt and had been enjoying extra benefits paid for by lobbyists from Big Pharma. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that the FDA has a great number of enemies, both in the health industry and on Capitol Hill.

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