Scott Gottlieb’s FDA Is Moving Toward a Stealth Ban on Cigarettes and Cigars
“By continuing to advance this measure,” Carrie Wade and Clive Bates argue in a policy study for the R Street Institute, “the FDA takes Congress literally but not seriously, and the agency would do well to recognize that Congress expects to authorize rulemaking of this significance.” If an unelected agency head took such drastic action, it would arguably represent an anti-democratic power grab, substantially affecting millions of stakeholders without accountability.
If nicotine is essentially prohibited in cigars and other tobacco products, the act of smoking them would be fundamentally changed–a real cost to consumers who enjoy them. Anti-smoking groups implausibly deny this, contending that this wouldn’t result in any loss of utility for cigar smokers because they would still be allowed to obtain nicotine from patches, gums, or e-cigarettes.
“To the extent that smokers derive pleasure from smoking apart from satisfying their need for nicotine, they will continue to be able to purchase cigarettes and other combusted products,” they argue in their comments to the FDA. “Having access to both nicotine and combusted tobacco products, it is questionable whether smokers will experience any loss of consumer surplus, even assuming that such surplus is generated by smoking.”