Some interesting news has come from the White House today. According to Washington Examiner and The Hill, the Trump admin has proposed a budget request for the next fiscal year, which will make the Center for Tobacco Products a separate and independent entity, as opposed to now which is a branch of the FDA. It will also enable the new director to be confirmed by Senate.
The reason? The Trump Admin believes the FDA should focus its efforts solely on Food and Drugs, and like White House Council Joe Grogan said
“Tobacco has no redeeming qualities and it should not be regulated by a health agency like this”.
Whether this is a good or bad proposal is unknown. We saw the troubles that came from the FDA regulating vapor products under the Tobacco Control Act. Allowing Bureaucrats to have complete control over an industry they know very little about, has been a breeding ground for misinformation and political propaganda. But will further segmenting the already intensely scrutinized industry end up only opening more points of control? Or will it allow more sensible, hard reduction focused officials to fill the gap, creating fair and balanced regulation?
That remains to be seen. What is known is that for this proposal to be passed, it would require a vote from Congress. The Hill stating it is unlikely to pass in its current form and does not have broad support from lawmakers.
But I can’t help but wonder why this proposal is being sent in the first place. Surely it has nothing to do with virtue, and there must be some other external factor at play here. Does the White House want to further thin the budgetary requirements of the FDA, and allowing tobacco to move to a different segment, create even less fiscal responsibility? According to the proposal, Trump plans to cut 10% from the over HHS budget.
It’s an interesting proposal, which could have drastic impact on vaping and tobacco. Hopefully things become more clear as we get near the deadline for PMTA process, which has also shared its own set of controversy in the White House. Nonetheless, the vaping industry is still stuck in a very precarious position. And any signs of wiggle room is welcomed.