Brian King is the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Recently, Bri, a King, was the new head of CTP. King gave an interview to the Associated Press that has caught the attention of a lot of users. Here’s a portion of the interview which highlights the most critical points:
A: Research has shown that most adults believe e-cigarettes are as dangerous as traditional tobacco. Are they a danger?
A: I know the misconceptions that don’t match scientifically proven facts. We know that e-cigarettes, in general class, have substantially lower risks than a combustible product from a cigarette. However, informing any communications campaigns with the latest research and scientific evidence is crucial. It should be careful about the design to ensure we’re maximizing the impact of our campaigns and avoiding unintended effects.
Do you have an opinion on the possibility of using vaping to reduce smoking among smokers of adulthood?
A: Many significant scientific advancements have occurred in the field recently. I think nicotine salts (in electronic cigarettes) are one of the most influential.
We know that smoking effectively distributes nicotine to the blood-brain barrier. It’s been a challenge to match that effectiveness in a different product. However, nicotine salts can deliver nicotine more efficiently, which could have promised public health by providing smokers with enough nicotine to change completely. But it is also essential to be aware of the flip aspect, which is the inherent risk of starting a habit among young people. Therefore, I am concerned about this.
A lot is happening, and I believe it’s either promising or risky. However, I think science must be the driver behind it.
A statement from the director of the CTP that recognizes e-cigarettes as harm-reduction devices might seem like good news for users of e-cigarettes; however, Dr. King’s previous work is a reason to doubt that the FDA will behave differently than it did before. One of the studies he co-authored with him was entitled “Reasons for current E-cigarette use among U.S. adults.”
However, King has been adamant about smoking vapes and has been the source of misinformation he spreads about himself. King not only pushed the concept of EVALI (E-cigarette or vaping-related Lung injury) amid a crisis mostly blamed on black market THC vapes, not E-cigarettes, but he also decided to use the unproven flavoring agent diacetyl, which is not related to it, during the time of crisis to create fears. In addition, he is against flavorings for young people.
Dr. King is also worryingly inexperienced for the job handed to Dr. King. Although he’s co-authored several documents on electronic cigarettes and tobacco, he’s never been in a position of responsibility for regulation. King’s lack of experience is troubling to anti-vaping activists and pro-vaping supporters alike because the CTP faces various new challenges in regulating electronic cigarettes.
A pre-market review of the Tobacco Pre-Market Applications (PMTA) is a saga of large corporations stuck in reviewing. Both pro and anti-vape supporters are dissatisfied with the quality, speed, and timeline that has been exhibited by PMTA handling. The problem is that companies with more significant market share have not been given the priority they were promised, and many small businesses were discarded in an unintentional rejection.
Juul is the brand that is the most popular brand for the youth market; it fought Juul’s FDA PMTA verdict in court, as have several smaller companies. Many vaping companies have a hold on their marketing desist orders, an issue that has riled many anti-vaping advocates. The FDA is confused. Commissioner Robert Califf has ordered an independent review for the center because how they handle the PMTA process is so doubtful.
In addition, PMTA applications for synthetic nicotine products haven’t been considered – the majority of products currently being reviewed were submitted before the popularity of synthetic nicotine was prohibited. Also, a menthol ban is scheduled to take effect, but not much information about what will happen has been announced.
What does Dr. King’s current situation appear like for many people? A common theme is that he’s not an ardent scientist, mainly due to his behavior in the EVALI crisis. He could be a risky choice as CTP Director. CTP.