Is the FDA in big tobacco’s pocket?
For the past few years, a battle has been raging between the FDA and American e-cigarette companies. As an association that is meant to protect consumers, the FDA should be celebrating a device proven to be much less harmful than traditional cigarettes … so why is the Food and Drug Administration so violently opposed to vaping?
The fight against the vaping sector started in 2009, when the FDA pressed charges in hopes of banning the import of electronic cigarettes. The two companies in question (Smoking Everywhere and NJOY) ended up winning the trial the following year. At the time, the court decided that e-cigarettes couldn’t be considered as pharmaceutical products.
More recently, the pre-market demand authorities (PMTA) have expressed concern with the vaping industry. Although delayed until 2022, new measures will force manufacturers to obtain FDA approval before selling new products. Significant costs are expected, which may signal the end for numerous manufacturers.
Is the vaping industry a threat to the FDA’s finances?
In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Physicians declared that vaping is “95% less harmful” than cigarettes, while the FDA has not acknowledged this truth and continues to fight the vaping industry. The latest example: Scott Gottlieb’s threats against Juul, a company that has seen tremendous success in the United States.
Why is vaping viewed so differently in these countries? Maybe because estimates suggest that the FDA earns hundreds of millions of dollars (estimated at $770 million in 2018) on cigarette sales! Pharmaceutical companies selling patches and nicotine gums also pay dues to the association every year.
It is arguable that the FDA is trying to stop the vaping industry in hopes of helping Big Tobacco. Last year, Altria (which sells Marlboro cigarettes) purchased 35% of Juul shares, and so the question must be asked: has the American association been secretly working for Big Tobacco?
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