Scott Gottlieb Resigns

According to several commenters this NYTimes article is apparently unlinkable and unviewable behind its paywall, and the comments under it are shocking. I had no trouble reading it though. So, as a public service, here’s most of the thing, with a few sample comments.

F.D.A. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Who Fought Teenage Vaping, Resigns

WASHINGTON — Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, known for his aggressive efforts to regulate the tobacco and e-cigarette industries, said on Tuesday that he would resign at the end of the month.

The reason he gave was family and his weariness with commuting to see his wife and three children, who have remained in their Westport, Conn. home since he took office. But his announcement caught many in Washington and the industries he regulates by surprise and raised questions about whether his push to reduce teenage vaping and lower nicotine levels and ban menthol in cigarettes will continue in an administration that generally has a hands-off approach to business.

“It’s critical that his successor champions protecting kids and the rest of the nation against the tobacco epidemic,” said Cliff Douglas, vice president of tobacco control at the American Cancer Society. “Gottlieb has taken historic steps to take on this epidemic in a new way, including such proposals as reducing nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels and now pursuing a potential ban on menthol in cigarettes, so it is critical that whoever succeeds him picks up that mantel and treats it with equal priority that he has given it.”

Dr. Gottlieb has been subject to increasing pressure from some Republicans in Congress and his former associates in the conservative movement for his tough stance against youth vaping and traditional cigarettes. A coalition of influential conservative groups recently asked the White House to block some key parts of the F.D.A.’s strategy to prevent youths from vaping. Republican Senator Richard Burr blasted the commissioner on the Senate floor for his proposal to ban menthol cigarettes.

Dr. Gottlieb said these protests had no role in his departure.

“There’s no intrigue here,” he said in an interview. A senior White House official said Dr. Gottlieb was not pressured to leave and that the President was “very fond” of him.

Dr. Gottlieb said he planned to advance the F.D.A.’s pending tobacco regulations before he leaves. And he was confident, he said, that the agency’s guidance on restricting flavored e-cigarettes would be issued before he left. He acknowledged, however, that he could not predict the fate of his proposals to ban menthol in cigarettes and reduce nicotine to nonaddictive levels in cigarettes.

Industry analysts expressed optimism that those initiatives would, in fact, now end.
“We think this major development will be broadly viewed as a positive for the tobacco industry, although this introduces some uncertainty,” Bonnie Herzog, a managing director of equity research at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an email to clients. “We believe his resignation calls into question whether or not the FDA will in fact enforce harsher regulations around youth e-cig usage/access, cig nicotine limits and a cig menthol ban given he was the champion behind these initiatives.”

When he was first nominated, Dr. Gottlieb seemed a figure right out of central casting for the Trump administration. As a venture capitalist who served as both a consultant and board member for drug companies, he had made a fortune from the industry he would regulate, written impassioned anti-regulatory columns in conservative journals, and held stock in industry players large and small, which he divested. But he was also a physician, and as he settled into the job, his libertarian views were often balanced by his zeal to protect public health…

During his tenure at the F.D.A., Dr. Gottlieb, who was not shy about announcing his achievements, sometimes several times a day on social media, eventually moved from a hands-off approach to the nascent e-cigarette companies, to leading a clamorous fight against them, particularly as studies emerged about how teenagers swarmed the new product, unaware of the addictive properties of nicotine.

In shifting his position, from giving the companies years to show that e-cigarettes were both safe and effective for smoking cessation, to urging stringent monitoring of convenience stores, vaping flavors and age restrictions, Dr. Gottlieb earned both the umbrage of pro-business leaders and some aspersions from the antismoking movement, which felt he moved too slowly.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, acknowledged that Dr. Gottlieb walked a tightrope, leaving a complex record in his wake. “He has made proposals that had the potential to reduce tobacco use more dramatically than any other federal public official in U.S. history,” Mr. Myers said. “On e-cigarettes he deserves enormous credit for shining a spotlight on the crisis of its use by kids.”

“But,” Mr. Myers continued, “the fact that he has not prohibited the marketing of the flavored products outright has contributed to the problem. His legacy will depend upon whether his proposals, including those for e-cigarettes, ultimately become law.”

Samples of 307 comments:

1 Cost the industries too much money. The almighty dollar rules in all ways with this administration.

2 “Cleaner, Fresher, Smoother!”. 1950’s, here we come again.

3 The guy is right. If people are dumb enough to smoke and vape then perhaps he need laws to protect people from themselves.

4 Cigarettes have over 4,000 chemicals added to them by tobacco co’s, most with intent to get the nicotine into a smoker’s blood stream faster & more intently, i.e. get addicted faster & stay addicted. Our Fed govt allowed this deliberate adulteration to create an immensely more dangerous product. Why? Because of tobacco co lobbyists buying politicians & the govt getting it’s cut via taxes. Our fed & state govt has allowed the deliberate poisoning of US citizens for profit. When tobacco co’s take over the legal marijuana industry they will do the exact same thing. Shame we lost an FDA chief that actually worked to protect citizens vs corps.

5 I find his stance on tobacco commendable. The mere fact that a known killer is legal is legal makes us ALL cancer pimps. We are selling death to strangers and our loved ones. I also find myself surprised that Trump would appoint someone who actually cares about the health of the general public. Very unTrumplike.

6 How lovely, many GOP Republicans want restrictions dropped so more kids can vape and get addicted to nicotine. These must be the ones that own stock in the vape and tobacco companies. Don’t they realize that vaping also give you cancer and other health problems? Oh I guess they own stock in insurance and healthcare companies. Bottom line is that they don’t care about anyone but themselves.

7 I teach smoking, to children, and I am very glad to see this man out.

8 When I see someone who actually works toward the protection of our nations health, and who is looking out for our more vulnerable and younger members I am heartened. When I see that they have been pressured by “conservative and Republican” Forced to lessen their protections I am sickened. Truly the Republican Party as a whole ( now the criminal helpers to Trump) and many conservative groups are seen for what they really are: Enemies of our people.

9 Of course the only Trump appointee who has actually done a good job is resigning. Thanks for at least trying to act in the people’s interests.

10 Regulating tobacco and vaping? What’s next? Gun regulations? How dare the GOP help keep people alive. Greedy GOP.

11 Nicotene is NOT harmful! Americans have been conditioned to associate nicotene with tobacco which is the culprit (from the tar) for cancer, etc. Nicotene is addictive, no question, but so is coffee and especially alcohol which does cause have unquestioned health problems. STOP BANNING products and our freedoms over emotions rather than science. If nicotene does NOT cause cancer NOR heart disease, yet DOES help with Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, and ADHD,….then WHY all the misplaced hate on respectable vape companies?! Please explain…with EVIDENCE.

12 Is there any evil that Republicans are not in favor of?

95% strongly negative to Trump and GOP.

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14 Responses to Scott Gottlieb Resigns

  1. Nicki Lawrence says:

    The ignorance re vaping and nicotine is appalling, but is due to all the propaganda by people like Gottlieb, Jerome Adams SG and Mike Myers and the junk science by Glantz and the other foot soldiers. People can’t separate benign, non-addictive & beneficial nicotine from cigarettes. The public, politicians and regulators have been socially engineered (brainwashed) by such people for decades and now they’re repeating it with vaping.

    A trusted website with in-depth info on vaping:
    Nicotine Articles:
    Nicotine Studies & Articles:

    Aaron Biebert who made the film last year, A Billion Lives, showing the corruption against vaping, is making a new film about the benefits of nicotine, along with the long term propaganda surrounding it – You Don’t Know Nicotine.

  2. Rose says:

    4. “Cigarettes have over 4,000 chemicals added to them by tobacco co’s, most with intent to get the nicotine into a smoker’s blood stream faster & more intently, i.e. get addicted faster & stay addicted. Our Fed govt allowed this deliberate adulteration to create an immensely more dangerous product.”

    Clive Bates
    14th 1999

    Page 4
    “The rise of additives in tobacco products is intimately linked with the strategy to reduce tar yields. The amount of tar and nicotine in smoke is measured by a standard smoking machine in which the cigarette is smoked with a fixed puff volume and frequency with tar and nicotine residues collected on a filter and weighed. Governments have insisted on reducing tar levels as measured by this approach, hoping that this would reduce tar exposure to smokers — and therefore lead to reduced harm.”

    Low tar cigarettes and additives

    “One of the prime justifications for the addition of artificial flavourings is to replace the lost flavour of the diluted smoke. This has in theory been done to facilitate the switch to low-tar. However, any hoped-for health benefits from low-tar cigarettes have largely failed to materialise. At the same time an extremely lax regulatory regime for additives has emerged. Although smokers of lower tar cigarettes may be consuming as much tar and nicotine in total, they will be consuming greater volumes of diluted smoke to do it. This is perhaps analogous to drinking watered down wine – it is possible to become intoxicated, but drinkers will have to consume more and the flavour will be weaker.”

    Regulation. The existing regulatory framework is based on the assumption that additives are useful to facilitate consumer acceptance of lower tar yield cigarettes. By facilitating the switch to lower tar products, it was hoped that tobacco additives would lead to ‘health gains’.”
    Authorization Required

    • Vinny Gracchus says:

      Thanks Rose. Once again proof the antis lie. Just like ‘light’ cigarettes… They advocated for light cigarettes and now blame the tobacco companies. Too bad the so-called ‘investigative reporters’ can’t leave their bias behind, stop blindly promulgating tobacco control propaganda and objectively look at the facts of the antismoking crusade. Lies and manipulated studies have been used to reinforce new lies and manipulated studies; all in the name of the antismoking ideology of hate.

      • Rose says:

        Vinny, in 1974 the antis were trying to be helpful and make a safer cigarette, but as they thought the whole plant was deadly, the only safer cigarette there could be was one with less tobacco in it.

        “The research conducted by the Smoking and Health Program of the National Cancer Institute and other national and international organizations has identified promising techniques for reducing toxic elements of smoke. These techniques fall into three general categories.

        Changes in Cigarette Construction
        The burning rate and the amount of air mixed with the smoke while the cigarette is being puffed can be altered by the use of cigarette paper of greater porosity, and by providing aerating mouthpieces.
        These methods reduce the amount of tobacco burned during inhalation, and by diluting the smoke recieved by the smoker make it less hazardous.”

        On page 5 they want dilution from “cellulose synthetic tobacco extenders, inorganic salts, clays and kaolin” in reconstituted tobacco sheets and suggest that tobacco can be “expanded, puffed or freeze dried so that less of it is required to fill each cigarette”

        Ncab Subcommittee Meeting 741101 1974 page2

        “Dr. Wynder felt that regulatory action should cover the entire spectrum of smoking dependent diseases and that if the 1974 average tar and nicotine contents of cigarettes (18.4 milligrams,and 1.27 milligrams respectively) are acceptable to the majority of smokers, there is no reason they should not be acceptable to all smokers.

        The labeling of cigarettes with a precise tar and nicotine content may not be specifically clear to the consumer, and a qualitative label of °light” may be allocated for all cigarettes below 12 milligrams of tar and 0.8 milligrams of nicotine, hoping that the consumer would find a more immediate signal for his choice.”

        “Dr. Wynder also voiced strong concern that legislative attempts at cigarette regulation would have little chance of being approved ,and expressed his favor for recommendations to encourage voluntary regulation by the cigarette industry.”

        “Dr Goodman minuted a private meeting with Dr Ernst Wynder, who with Evarts Graham had published a similar study just before Doll and Hill’s: “He is a young man ‘far gone in enthusiasm’ for the causal relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer. (I had been told when I was in New York this spring that he was the son of a revivalist preacher and had inherited his father’s antipathy to tobacco and alcohol.)”
        https: //

      • magnetic01 says:

        Just like ‘light’ cigarettes… They advocated for light cigarettes and now blame the tobacco companies.
        With their prohibition crusade stalled in the 1970s, it was antismokers that suggested pursuing “safer” cigarettes, i.e., low-tar/low-nicotine, to stay in the “game”. By the early-1980s, it shocked even antismokers how easy it was to manipulate people to antismoking by claiming that nonsmokers were being endangered by ambient tobacco smoke. This was the avenue to prohibition. They dropped everything else, including “light cigarettes”, claiming that this, too, was just another conspiracy by the [evil] tobacco industry.
        Claiming [erroneously] that smoking is due to “nicotine addiction” put nicotine under the jurisdiction of the pharma-dominated, antismoking Federal Drug Administration (FDA). It was something that the misocapnists/capnophobes were trying to do early last century in America without success. This time the antismoking nut cases managed to bamboozle their way to success.
        Well, the FDA is now ready to act on tobacco. And guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to lower the nicotine level of cigarettes such that the only cigarettes that will be available will be light cigarettes, the very same light cigarettes [erroneously] condemned by the antismoking nut cases as a tobacco industry “conspiracy”. You couldn’t make up this stuff.

        • Rose says:

          Why they said nicotione was addictive – to get FDA control over tobacco.

          US ruling turns smokers into junkies
          13 August 1994

          “Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last week. The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

          Over the past few months, the FDA’s commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs. To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine’s addictiveness to keep smokers smoking.”

          “The drug abuse panel listened to a whole range of definitions of addiction. But the debate highlighted some important questions. What makes a substance addictive? What is the difference between an addiction and a habit? Has the term ‘addiction’ become meaningless?
          In 1988, the US Surgeon General concluded in a report on tobacco that nicotine is addictive in the fullest sense of the word. It is psychoactive, having a direct effect on the brain; it is reinforcing, meaning that users will keep using the drug; it is used compulsively despite harmful effects. The desire to smoke takes precedence over other important priorities, such as health, and smokers become physically dependent on nicotine.
          Despite this, a handful of scientists – inside and outside the tobacco companies – claim the Surgeon General stretched the traditional meaning of addiction too far. They claim his report adds to the growing abuse of the word as in pop psychology’s ‘food addiction’ and ‘sex addiction’.
          ‘The smoker’s ability to think or reason clearly is not diminished when making the decision to quit or continue smoking. In short, this is clearly not a behaviour that the smoker has lost control over.’
          “He points out that until the 1960s, most definitions of addictive substances included the intoxicating effect. He said that this part of the definition should still apply, and as nicotine in normal doses is not intoxicating, it should not be considered addictive.

          I found small amounts of sublingual brewers yeast when I wanted a cigarette worked just as well and lasted just as long. Anti- tobacco conveniently ignores the fact that we oxidize the nicotine in cigarettes before drawing it into the mouth, you don’t have to with the niacin in brewers yeast.

          There is nothing unique in nature.

        • RdM says:

          If the data contradict the theory, throw out the data:
          Nicotine addiction in the 2010 report of the Surgeon General


          Click to access 2002-frenkdar.pdf

  3. E.G. says:

    What is number 7? Is it sarcasm or spam bot?

  4. waltc says:

    Sorry, Joe, I meant it was in the clear on clash’s fb page, not the website, and when I first found the Times piece it was still labeled as “breaking” and posted “18 minutes” after it broke which may explain its unlinkability at the time.

    As for the comments, perfect emblem of the Liberal (illiberal) state of mind of Times readers. God help us if they’re 51% of the electorate. The admirable Thomas Sowell, in a recent interview, isn’t sure America will escape socialist collectivism. The other night a few of us were jokingly speculating on reincarnation and what we’d like to come back as. It occured to me that I might not want to come back at all if this is the constrained path of western civilization.

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    Gottlieb is so proud of stigmatizing smokers. Ef that prick. Good riddance fascist loser.

  6. RdM says:

    The comments section is closed. To submit a letter to the editor for publication, write to

    So that didn’t last long.

  7. RdM says:

    An earlier, long article in the NYT from years past that’s worth reading again, IMHO.

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