“Not approved by the FDA” by Steve Chase

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“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”.

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  1. Abby Olmstead says

    Great blog Steve! This will really make people think. Also, it’s a good plan to start stocking up. Thank you for writing this!

  2. slap_maxwell says

    It isn’t just the FDA — it’s the entire structure of modern American government. It now exists solely to keep itself in power, and to grab as much additional power as possible. The only health and safety they care about is their own. And sorry to say, anyone who thinks otherwise has fallen under their spell….

  3. muertala says

    I agree with this 100%, I do believe that the only way the vaping community will gain any ground would be to play the same game as the pharmaceuticals and get politicians on our side and flood the media with e-cig facts and success

  4. Gorg the blacksmith says

    why cant the feds leave people be

  5. Jennifer A. aka hallucinoJEN says

    I read something awhile ago (before e-cigs were invented) that said Big Pharma’s Nicotrol inhaler or CigRX looked like a cigarette, and even produced smoke-like vapor like a cig. The ANTZ were against this design and forced the Big Pharmas to change their design to look LESS like a cig. They used the same arguments they use now….the children. They fail to realize that the millions of smokers aren’t just addicted to nicotine. We are also addicted to the behavioral aspects of smoking.

    Since President Obama smokes Newports, we, as vapers, should send him email/mail asking him to quit smoking using an ecig. After all, he is a family man. I assume he loves his family, who cares about his health. If we get the President on our side, maybe, then maybe he will be our biggest supporter.

  6. muertala says

    I didn’t know the president smoked newports, yeah the president with a e-cig will definitely turn the tides

  7. MSV8PR says

    Great blog. I agree completely!!

  8. Michael says

    Curruption is everywhere, why would anyone think it’s not with the FDA. You’re 100% right, you have to start at the top.

  9. Michelle says

    Great blog!! I’m stocking up and learning DIY e-juice.

  10. Johnathan Brown says

    I agree, I’ve been thinking about this more and more lately. Good post man

  11. Nathaniel says

    This scares me a lot!

    Guess I’m going to stock up on E-liquid!

  12. sandie says

    I think what you said speaks to all of us who vape Steve. Thank you for saying it exactly like it is and exactly like I would have liked to have said it!

  13. Anthony says

    damn, and this happens right as i get into vaping?…

  14. slap_maxwell says

    Good write-up as usual, Steve. I enjoy your blog at your DoD site as well. Thanks!

  15. dandelionwings says

    excellent posting—so many areas need a good ‘house cleaning’ within our system. a larger checks n balance for research would be a good start.

  16. TheCrookedOne says

    GREAT posting…..
    There is more money to be made!!! Cancer , they don’t want a cure…..its a Money racket!!! Damn the MAN

  17. Treece says

    Shortly after Obama took office in January 2009, nine FDA scientists wrote him a letter, citing corruption in the scientific process at the agency. They wrote: “There is an atmosphere at FDA in which the honest employee fears the dishonest employee.”

    The main concern was the review process for medical devices, as reported in the Wall Street Journal (and everywhere else)–a process the scientists claimed had been “corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123142562104564381.html)

    Shortly after Margaret Hamburg was appointed FDA commissioner, she gave a speech in which she referenced a survey of the American people that found the FDA was trusted *less than the IRS.* Just think about that for a minute. That’s the personal equivalent of trusting an unknown used car salesman more than you trust your family doctor! If that weren’t disconcerting enough, Hamburg giggled after she said it. Personally, I didn’t find it all that funny.

    I don’t think the general public’s trust level has gone up any in the past four years, and my guess is that it’s at an all-time low. The FDA undoubtedly feels the pressure of this public disdain, and vapers aren’t the only group that stays in a state of active outrage. Those in the business of alternative medicine/natural health, for example, have been waging their own war on the FDA’s over-reaching of authority for many years.

    The deadline to comment on the FDA’s intent to regulate e-cigarettes was January 16th. There will, however, be 60 days to comment after the FDA reveals those intentions. At that time, we need to ensure a tsunami of comments from vapers who truly understand what’s at stake here.

    We need to do this not because the FDA takes to heart what we say, but because they need to feel the sheer, overwhelming pressure of our numbers and our commitment.

    Keep in mind that the officials of the FDA are appointed by those we elect. We are not powerless here–not by a long shot. Years ago, when our numbers were a mere fraction of what they are now, several state governments were poised to ban e-cigarette sales entirely. It was only because vapers showed up and testified at hearings, made phone calls, and wrote letters that those bans were stopped. The legislators sided with vapers–not with the American Lung Association (speaking of organizations most people hold sacred)–and they sided with vapers for the simple reason that once they heard the truth, they believed it.

    We have a battle ahead, and it’s a big, serious one. In my opinion, our first order of business is to educate ourselves and each other about vaping’s legal/political history, join and support our consumer group, CASAA (casaa.org), and be prepared to engage in this battle as if lives depended on it … because they do.

    Stocking up on vaping supplies is fine for us, but it does nothing for the millions of current smokers who may become vapers. None of us would be here without the help of those who came before us. Aren’t we obligated to help those who come after? I think we are, and I think the vast majority of vapers agree with that. I mean, really: You can’t shake a stick in the vaping world without hitting the phrase, “pay it forward.” It appears to be in our nature. At the risk of sounding trite, I’m going to say it, anyway: We can do this.

  18. Chad says

    Great blog!

  19. Courtney says

    If VG and PG can be regulated by the FDA then certainly products containing those substances can be also. Vaping has helped me quit using tobacco and can help many others.

  20. Marilyn Brumm says

    Great job, keep fighting the good fight. Godspeed, I’m here with you.

  21. John "Shub" Fellhoelter says

    great blog article and great responses… although slightly scary.. I have recently started and would hate to be snuffed out about something I’m so excited about

  22. muertala says

    I have no doubt that some in power in the FDA are corrupt, I think they need to regulate themselves better.

  23. Philippe says

    Good job

  24. crymsannerose says

    I fear though, that approach may also be an issue and have the reverse effect intended by oppositional actions. In proving to them that Vaping helped us quit analogs, we are proving to them that we are using the products as a medical device, much like nicotine gums and the like. What we really need to do is find a way to protect our vendors and fight FOR them instead of fighting for vaping in general. We need to protect our vendors rights to produce our favorite devices and juices!!! If the FDA and Big Pharma step in and regulate who can make devices and juice, our favorite vendors are going to be in serious trouble!!! So, instead of stocking up on DIY supplies, stock up on your favorite vendor juices and support and voice the cash flow and our preferences for these vendors as opposed to Big Pharma’s solutions, which have been failures up until now.

  25. MrsCasey says

    Vioxx is an anti-inflammatory drug. I took it for 5 years before it was pulled from the market due to people suffering heart problems. Darvocet, I took this while waiting for shoulder surgery and for 4 months during rehab, pulled from the market for people suffering heart problems. My sister took Phen/Phen to help her loose weight, pulled from the market due to people suffering heart problems. All of these drugs were FDA approved and there are many, many more like them. Need I even mention Chantix? The FDA approves drugs all the time without having evidence that harm will not come to the citizens of the USA. Why, do they keep insisting there is no evidence ecigs are safe? Why do they keep referring to a 2009 study when quite a few others have been done since then? Obviously they have an agenda. Whether the FDA wants to pass their Deeming Regulation to consider ecigs a tobacco product and tax the heck out of it or have it considered an NRT and let the pharmaceutical companies profit off it, cut the nicotine strength down so low it renders them useless for cessation or limit the time we can use ecigs, we loose. Having written letters and signed petitions in the past and having received form letters back which basically said, your opinion doesn’t matter or we have no intention to educate ourselves on this matter we will not be changing our opinion, I can see that writing letters and making phone calls will most likely not be enough. The best weapon we have is the large number of Vapers who have kicked the smoking habit and are passionate about their right to Vape. We need to make ourselves heard AND seen. I saw a suggestion on starting a type of “Occupy” movement. Well don’t get me started on that but…… What if next time the FDA meets to discuss ecigs we all go to the nearest City Hall to us and Vape up a storm and raise our voices, Cities all accross America with 5 people or 25 people or 100 people gathered to say, “No you can’t take our ecigs away”! I’d be there and I would let everyone I know who vapes or who supports their friend or family member Vaping that they need to be there too. The media coverage might be just what we need.

  26. GhOsT DoGg 79 says

    tired of feds

  27. tiffjamesnjj says

    anthing with banning my e-cigs makes me sad… but i have a plan, not as fun as vaping now, but better than cigs

  28. brian says

    They like to ban anything that they dont understand. They just sit up on there high horses and ban anything that is even the lease bit controversial

  29. imtheboss says


  30. joshua metoyer says

    I think it has something to do with the Tobacco companies. think about how screwed they would be if everyone switched to e cigs. it probably a conspiracy

  31. Aaron says

    I do not beleave what the government has to say anyway.

  32. Ralph Tirella says

    interesting, thanks

  33. robowvape says

    why ask why?

    it seems like most of you are asking questions that basically amount to “why won’t the FDA be fair to us like they are to Big Pharma and Big Tobbacco?”

    not trying to be rude, just trying to answer the question… because we haven’t given them a single red cent so far… the other guys have paid their dues, we’ve been running a nicotine trade in the open, unsupervised, unregulated, and untaxed in the name of a “liberty” that i think we can all clearly see we don’t REALLY have given that FDA HAS the authority to pick this up, slap a ban on it, and pass it back down to us whether we like it or not… and why aren’t the other lobbyists being fair to us? ’cause we haven’t paid them either… they get paid to lie and make us look bad, they’re lobbyists for big pharm and big tobacco, both of whom stand to take it in the pants on the bottom line if ecigs ever go truly mainstream… they don’t get paid to be fair, they get paid to distort facts, skew research results, and make their competition look bad… it’s either team up or pay up, and we ain’t got the money for the fight, at present it looks as though in time we’ll be joining team tobacco rather than team pharma, and sadly i think i prefer that to joining the drug companies…

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