New York Senator, Chuck Schumer, pressures FDA to reconsider delay of controversial deeming rule.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a press conference in Manhattan to discuss e-cigarettes and the controversial FDA deeming rule. He said that delaying the implementation of the regulations would be a big mistake. In July, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb decided to push back when the rule would take effect for another five years, citing how the industry needs time to adequately prepare for the new rules and regulations. At the time, people in the vaping community applauded the choice to delay the law but persisted that it should ultimately be majorly modified or abandoned altogether. Sen. Schumer took particular exception with Juul devices, saying that New York teens are attracted to the brand because they are easy to conceal. According to a Surgeon General report, around 20% of middle and high school students nationwide say they have tried vaping, and the rate is even higher in New York. While it’s understandable for a politician to be cautious concerning the wellbeing of children, Sen. Schumer crossed a line when he asserted that e-cigarettes could be more dangerous than smoking.
Schumer’s Wild Claim
Chuck Schumer indicated that because one Juul pod can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, this makes them more dangerous. His wild claims didn’t end there, “Up until now, the FDA was on track to reign in e-cigs and regulate them like any other tobacco product, but this recent delay, coupled with the new numbers showing a rise in the use of gadgets like Juul, which can fool teachers and be brought to school, demands the FDA smoke out dangerous e-cigs and their mystery chemicals before more New York kids get hooked.” He then referenced their portability and different flavors as another major draw for teenagers. But Juul is hitting back, saying that their products are made only for adult users. They claim to go above and beyond, trying to prevent minors from accessing them. Which includes requiring customers to submit their ID to a public record search. But in spite of this, Chuck Schumer insists on targeting law-abiding companies like Juul in a misguided attempt to save the children.
Critique Of Minority Leader
There’s quite a lot that is problematic with Sen. Schumer’s assertions. First and foremost, his desire to “reign in e-cigs and regulate them like any other tobacco product,” is erroneous. Many respected peer-reviewed journals have published studies indicating that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Equating vaping with smoking tobacco is one of the most significant problems facing e-cigarettes. Research has shown that most people wrongly agree with Schumer, and believe that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than smoking. So when highly influential politicians share this view, it legitimizes an ultimately perilous mindset. Vaping has been proven to help more than half of daily vapers quit smoking for good, therefore undermining them is actively pushing people away from something that could help them stop a much more deadly practice. Even though he referenced the historic low rates of teen smoking in recent years, Sen. Schumer seemed to miss is that the rise in vaping has bolstered these plummeting smoking rates. In countries that have embraced vaping into smoking cessation programs, such as the UK, they have reported the lowest smoking rates ever recorded. Looking at these numbers, it becomes clear that treating vaping the same as smoking is doing much more harm than good.
What’s far worse is that the deeming rule, and politicians who support it like the Senate Minority Leader, are actually helping big tobacco by giving them a distinct advantage over the independent vaping industry. After all, the deeming rule requires smokeless alternative manufacturers to adhere to the strict and comprehensive tests and regulations that the tobacco industry has been dealing with for years. Having a better understanding of the red tape, as well as much deeper pockets, will allow big tobacco to take over an industry that was created to stop it. All of this looms over already stretched thin small business owners, as bans and taxes run rampant across the country. If we do not keep the playing field level by rescinding the deeming rule, we might soon see all but the few largest and most successful manufacturers close their doors for good.
What do you think about Sen. Schumer’s stance? What do you think should be done about the deeming rule? How can we work toward a world in which more people understand the differences and benefits of vaping over smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments.