“Not approved by the FDA” by Steve Chase
“People think the FDA is protecting them–it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what people think it’s doing are as different as night and day.” Dr. Herbert Ley, Commissioner of the FDA, _San Francisco Chronicle_, January 2, 1970.
Shame on me for living in ignorant bliss. For most of my life I have taken anything said or done by the FDA as gospel. No questions asked. They were beyond reproach. After all they are supposed to be looking out for our best interest, are they not? Until now I really never had a reason to question what they were doing. Unfortunately, I believe most Americans have that very same notion today. We are brainwashed. That is an enormous problem because I think that the general public will turn a blind eye to any rebuttal once the FDA disapproves of anything. And vote accordingly. The Anti-eCigarette groups understand this very well because the first talking point they use in their anti-ecig crusades is that “electronic cigarettes are not approved by the FDA”. It is the only piece of truth they have in their campaigns and like it or not it is very effective.
I feel blessed that I did not read the 2009 FDA report on electronic cigarettes until a couple of months after I started vaping. Had I read that report before I bought my starter kit I would have probably given up on the idea and never tried it at all. Needless to say I was stunned when I read it because I had first hand experience with the product, so I knew that what they were saying about ecigs was nothing more than a masterful piece of propaganda designed to quash it. It made no sense to me why they would do that. With forty million smokers in the United States and four hundred thousand a year dying from smoking related disease, why in the world would the FDA not embrace ANY alternative acceptable to smokers to help them to quit or at least reduce the risk? Unfortunately, the main reason in the opinion of many (me included), is the enormous influence large pharmaceutical companies have over the FDA and the colossal failure of the Federal government to administer oversight of the agency. This has been going on for a hundred years. As sleazy as it sounds, I think that it really is more about money than health and the big pharmas have hundreds of billions of dollars to spread around to push their agenda.
I am sure that I will take some heat for saying this (I honestly hope I am wrong) but trying to deal with the FDA from the bottom up seems almost futile to me. I feel like we are out on the field, playing defense and the game has been over since yesterday. Oh sure they will be courteous and ask for input and testimony but at the end of the day I think that they just might be using us to justify putting pharmaceutical companies in control of electronic cigarettes. Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but have you ever wondered why the drug companies haven’t already killed the electronic cigarette? They certainly have the resources to do that but their smoking cessation market might not justify that kind of expenditure. Perhaps what they are really planning is to get into the ecig market themselves. Look at what has transpired with electronic cigarettes from Big Pharmas point of view. Prior to the advent of electronic cigarettes the drug companies invested in smoking cessation products and had that market cornered… Since their normal channels of development didn’t conceive of the idea of ecigarettes they were caught off guard… As ecigs started to gain ground Big Pharma went into protection mode..ie..the 2009 FDA report… As vaping continued to show success and continued to grow, they used their Anti-smoking beneficiaries to spread their propaganda with the help of a clueless and somewhat compromised media. They have had some success with these campaigns but they have also had a couple of problems. First is the vaping community.. the drug companies failed to appreciate what desperate people will do when they feel they are being ripped off in every direction. The vaping community knows the truth and will continue to vehemently respond to the half truths and lies that are coming from the antis. Second is that the electronic cigarette is a far superior product compared to what they sell for smoking cessation. I think it’s possible that they have realized that for quite some time now and the reason they haven’t jumped in the ecig market is money. Why invest hundreds of billions of dollars testing the market when it is already being done for free? Our success goes to their benefit. They simply wait it out until the FDA steps in and makes it impossible for anyone other than Big Pharmas to make the product viable.
If this scenario ever came to pass then our fate would be in the hands of the drug companies. I can’t think of any good news with that situation except that the electronic cigarette in some form would probably survive. Other than that things look bleak. Pharma could decide that they are satisfied with their current products and not develop ecigs at all…and let it die.. I doubt that would happen however because a market of 40 million in the US alone is just too big to resist. I think that there is a good possibility that they would dive in and develop their own electronic cigarettes once they controlled the market. One thing is certain…variety would be lost and cost for the consumer would go through the roof.
So what to do about our situation right now? I can only speak for myself but here is what I intend to do:
First…Buy lots of liquid nicotine and plenty of rebuildables.
Next…Even though I am skeptical, I am going to add my testimony to the FDA and voice my opinion. It can’t hurt and maybe someone from pharma uh the FDA will read it. I am going to stress why I think the product worked so effectively when everything else failed for me. I am also going to heavily stress cost. If they want to help people to quit smoking, the cost needs to be minimal.
The bottom-line: Unfortunately I think that dealing with the FDA will only be effective from the top down and to do that we will have to deal in big numbers with two of the slimiest groups on the planet..politicians and the media. It is time to go pro-active. Writing letters to the FDA puts them on notice but I think that it is much more important to consult with the politicians and the media. The government needs to do the right thing for a change and not tax products that help people to quit smoking. No government should pick the pockets of desperate people who are struggling to save their own lives. An even better idea would be to take the bribe money from the tobacco settlement and REWARD people that quit smoking.
And finally they need to get the truth from the people that actually have experience with the electronic cigarette. They need to hear that just because a product is “not approved by the FDA” does not mean that it is not effective…or necessary…That the electronic cigarette is in fact a much better solution to ending the smoking problem than what is presently “approved by the FDA”.