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.