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As previously reported, the FDA current is accepting comments on their plans to possibly ban flavors in e-liquid and other tobacco products, and the docket has been overwhelmed with an unprecedented number of comments. Most of these are pro-ban and anti-vape spam. RegulatorWatch.com recently reported in its RegWatch video series that the bulk of these comments, about 250,000, were not even one-click form-letters generated by astroturfing campaigns, but rather were pure fakes, uploaded by bots which were eventually blocked. RegWatch’s Brent Stafford (who has written for The Daily Vaper) called this a “disruption campaign” and credibly speculated that this was an effort to force the FDA to ignore the entire comments process, or give them an excuse to do so if they want.
In addition to the bot submissions, which were effectively a denial-of-service attack that ground the comment process to a halt, tobacco controllers are abusing the process in other ways. The purpose of the comment process for a science-based regulatory agency is not to tally political opinions, but to collect decision-relevant information. At the time of this writing, the count of comments submitted to the docket stands at over 500,000, about five times the largest imaginable number of legitimate comments.
Comments - FDA - Docket - Submissions - Industry
A few hundred of the comments are presumably the normal FDA docket submissions by industry and other experts providing scientific information, which is the main purpose of FDA dockets, along with the usual in-depth presentations of disinformation by tobacco controllers. An unknown number — presumably many tens of thousands based on what happened for previous important dockets — are from vapors and other product users. Most of them will have reported their own experience with flavors, particularly including how flavors in vapor products helped them give up cigarettes. This is additional decision-relevant scientific information, providing details that are unavailable from...
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