TPE24 | Interview with U.S. Congressional Candidate: "What FDA are Doing is Criminal Because They're Killing American Citizens"
On February 1st, 2FIRSTS engaged in a discussion with Drew Johnson, a U.S. political commentator and congressional candidate, at the TPE24 trade show. Johnson advocated for FDA policy reform, supporting electronic cigarettes as a life-saving method. He pointed out that the government and pharmaceutical companies are attempting to impede the development of e-cigarettes, emphasizing that they are a relatively inexpensive and convenient choice.
Simultaneously, Johnson expressed disappointment over the UK's ban on disposable e-cigarettes, believing it would deprive some people of convenience. He sharply criticized FDA regulations, stating that they limit the e-cigarette industry. If elected, he pledged to support policies that contribute to longer and healthier lives.
The following is a summary of the Q&A session:
Q: Let me begin with my first question. My first question is just asked by David just now. What brings your here?
Vaping has actually been an interest of mine for a while, because I saw working in public policy that vaping is the best way for people to stop smoking.
It saves lives. It's relatively cheap and convenient and I get really frustrated when I see governments try to ban vaping, try to to regulate it out of existence and try to push it on a black market, because ultimately vaping saves lives and anything we as a government can do is to promote vaping over smoking.
And also I've seen some some real problems with Big Tobacco and also Pharm try to kill vaping because they obviously have products that compete with vaping so you see things like pharm, they've got their patches and the gums and things that aren't as effective as vaping, but they want to make sure those products are still being sold, so they actually lobby against vaping.
I've seen this a lot on the international level through the whole and also here in the States where pharmaceutical companies basically lobby and try to get government to be persuaded by lying about some of the dangers with it.
Q: So that's why this TPE show is like, as you posted, most of the vapes are illegal, but that is something that saves people's lives. How do you like this TPE show?
It's been incredible to see the technology, to see the harm reduction efforts, to see all the options that are available. Really it's my goal to get the word out that there are these things available and that you know I don't have a problem with government regulating and making them as safe as possible.
We just need to get them to the market so the more we can get these products on the market safely, effectively, efficiently, so that people have adults who smoke have the opportunity to decide whether they want to vape instead, the better off we all are.
Q: That's good to know. Actually just before the TPE begins, we just heard a news from the UK that Rishi Sunak, the PM of UK, just announced to ban the disposable vapes in the UK. What do you think of this policy? Do we have something to learn from, or take a reference from, or take a leaf from?
First of all, it's really disappointed to hear UK is going in this direction because for years the UK has really been a model for the United States because the government of the UK admits that vaping is healthier than smoking and actually provides baits to people to help them stop smoking.
The problem with this decision to ban disposable vapes is that the people who tend to use disposable vapes are older people with disabilities. Things like that make it hard for them to use the big tanks and the liquids things so it takes away the most convenient, easiest way for people to vape.
And I think unfortunately, I think in the UK you want to see more people decide to stick with smoking because they don't have that option of the easiest way to vaping. It's a terrible decision.
Q: We also have noticed that the FDA has been unsatisfactory, especially this is a quote from the ex-FDA official the day before yesterday at the educational session. What do you think of the FDA's regulation and their enforcement?
The FDA what they're doing is criminal because they're killing American citizens. The FDA tries to act like they want to allow vaping but ultimately the regulations can use change every time a new company tries to put something on the market and so there's no consistency.
There's a clear motivation by the FDA was sort of help captive by Big Pharma and Big Tobacco to push out the vape industry and it's it's really concerning. I think that obviously there needs to be some regulation. There needs to be accountability in the industry but at the end of the day what's gonna help people stop smoking is vaping.
We see that vaping is the most effective way to help people stop smoking so when the FDA gets in the way that ultimately they are killing Americans and we can't have a government agency killing Americans through the bad policy.
Q: In a previous research from 2FIRSTS, we notice that there's a kind of a very distinguished difference between the blue states and red states which is governed by Republicans and Democrats so we see a difference between them. Attitudes towards vape in the republican states or red states, embracing the vaping industry and the Democrats states this is doing the opposite.
Q: For example like all the flavor bans happening, why do you think this scenario is happening? What's the reason?
More Republicans tend to believe that people can make better decisions for themselves than government they want to have more individual liberties let people make decisions for themselves and part of that is deciding whether to vape or smoke.
I do appreciate that there are a lot of Republican governors and Republican state lawmakers in these red states who are empowering people to have the option. In these democratic moblue states you're seeing flavor bans. I think every flavor ban in America has has come from a democratic city or in a state and ultimately when you get rid of flavors and and options you encourage people to smoke because people usually like the way smoking tastes, the way it makes them feel, and there needs to be a realistic option for them to transition to.
It concerns me that Democrats by micromanaging people's lives and people are actually doing a lot more harm than good because if they just embrace vaping is an option for adults if they regulated. It made sure as the red says are doing that you know people under 18 or 21 don't vape. I think it would solve a lot of problems when it comes to health and helping people to stop smoking.
Q: Empowering people to have more options and another question this question is kind of like an ambitious one. So should you be the congressman, what policies would you like to propose or adopt？
Absolutely. So if I'm fortunate enough to be elected, what I would like to see is the FDA treat vaping completely differently I would like the process that the FDA uses to bring new vape products into the market easier. so this policy of basically making vape illegal, where vaping has to exist on the black market and that's my number one concern the other issue is flavor bans which we see on the state level and the local level right now I know some members of Congress want to have flavor bans nationaly and that's just not a realistic option if the goal is to help people stop smoking. So at the end of the day I am for anything that helps people live longer lives live healthier lives.
I'm for adults being able to make decisions about their own lives and they choose to date and that's fine but but ultimately anything I can do to to save lives through helping people stop smoking. I think that's something that could be well and colleges and those sorts of policies what are what I'm gonna advocate one of my life.
Q: That's a terrific prospect to me actually it's very great and because there are still a very huge base of readers from China so can you also make like an ABC knowledge for the Chinese readers to, like enforcement and legislation on the FDA level and on the Nevada state level? So state level and FDA federal level.
Basically the way it works in America right now is the FDA has more or less banned vaping so it's very difficult in the United States to go through the process to legally bring vape products to market. There are some loopholes in some ways that you can pay hundreds of millions of dollars to bring products to market ultimately most vape products are banned now.
The way that people get around this is they sell them legally through the black market from other convenience stores or maybe a marijuana glass store and so they're still being based on it sold gratefully, but that's kind of where the state of Nevada comes in. we don't right now have flavor bans we don't have.
Here's a lot of regulations that you see in California, Connecticut, New York City, like that Portland but my goal my hope is that the FDA makes it easier for vape products to be above ground to sell legally to regulate them make sure that they're safe and that the products inside them are safe and less harmful and the more that we can do that the better off we are both in terms of health care cost terms of saving lives and encouraging people with longer healthier lives and helping people stop smoking.
I think that's all of our questions. thank you, thank you for joining us.
Absolutely thank you for having me.
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