The FDA, which is the governing body that regulates vape products, has a new commissioner. After a year without a permanent commissioner in place, the Senate has confirmed the appointment of Robert Califf. The Senate confirmed the appointment by a 50-46 vote, with a handful of Senators crossing party lines.
What's Next for Vaping
One of the first tasks for Califf will be to appoint a replacement for Mitch Zeller. Zeller is the current director of the Center for Tobacco Products, and has held the position since 2013. He has publicly announced that he will retiring in 2022, which makes this decision a crucial one for the vape industry.
Another hot topic that the FDA will have to handle is the handling of Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs). This process has been criticized by many within the vape industry, as well as others outside of it. The PMTA process has taken significantly longer than most had expected. Furthermore, the FDA has been sued by over 20 vape businesses over the handling of the PMTA process and the marketing denial orders that have been handed out to vape businesses over the past year.
Califf's Stance on Vaping
While it is impossible to tell which position the FDA takes on vaping under Califf's helm, there are some insights that we can gather under his previous one year term as FDA commissioner under the Obama administration.
When Califf previously held the title of FDA Commissioner, the agency passed its final Deeming Rule, which tried to stifle the innovation in the vaping industry. Califf has also publicly commented that he was in favor of vape flavor bans as well as a prescription model, which is currently in place in Australia.
Furthermore, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids organization, which is heavily in favor of flavor bans, has been a major supporter of the Robert Califf appointment.
Vape flavor bans, which often actually push more consumers to traditional cigarettes, have been detrimental to the people residing in flavor ban states.