FDA Will Keep Pressure on Teen Vaping, Acting Commissioner Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Food and Drug Administration’s new acting commissioner said Tuesday that he’ll maintain the agency’s crackdown on youth vaping.

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless used his first official remarks to staff to reassure them that he plans to “maintain FDA’s current course of action in every area and proceed full-speed ahead,” according to a copy of his remarks released by the agency.

FDA Will Keep Pressure on Teen Vaping, Acting Commissioner Says

Sharpless, 52, is the former director of the National Cancer Institute. He took over at the FDA after Scott Gottlieb stepped down from the top spot earlier this month. There had been some speculation that Gottlieb’s departure would ease pressure on e-cigarette makers such as Juul Labs Inc.

“Let me dispel any misconceptions that the change in leadership reflects some desire of the president or the secretary for the FDA to go in a different direction from the Gottlieb era,” Sharpless said. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “and the White House have been very clear with me that they have been impressed with the FDA’s efforts and would like to see this strong progress continue,” he said.

Gottlieb originally attempted to ease regulations on e-cigarette manufacturers but changed course last year after underage uptake of vaping devices rose to what he called epidemic levels. Last month, the FDA released a draft of a plan to limit sales of most flavored e-cigarettes.

When Gottlieb announced he was leaving, some speculated that it was because President Donald Trump’s administration didn’t like his tougher regulations on the new industry. But Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, told Bloomberg last month that Gottlieb was leaving “only on the best of terms.”

“I’m not aware of any policy dispute in the administration regarding Dr. Gottlieb,” Mulvaney said at the time.

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