Ex-Trump strategist says FDA chief has ‘lost his mind’ on move to ban flavored e-cigarettes 

A former Trump campaign strategist says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner has “lost his mind” after he threatened to take all flavored e-cigarettes off the U.S. market if retailers don’t do more to control use among teens.

“What the FDA chief is proposing here — Scott Gottlieb — is not to, say, limit teenagers from being able to buy this, it’s not educating people it might be harmful but to banning it entirely for everybody including adults, which seems to me that he has lost his mind,” Matt Braynard told Hill.TV co-hosts Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball.

“He is formerly of the [American Enterprise Institute], a very free market institute … just banning this product from the market wholesale would have tremendous costs — there’s great risk reduction in allowing these vaping products on the market,” he continued.

Gottlieb said on Tuesday that e-cigarette use among teens as become an "epidemic," and announced plans to take action against more than 1,300 retailers and five major manufacturers "for their roles perpetuating youth access." 

“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teens,” the commissioner said in a statement. 

Popular e-cigarette makers like JUUL now have 60 days to submit a plan to the FDA detailing how they will prevent teens from using their products.

If these companies fail to comply, the agency said it would consider requiring them to stop selling flavored tobacco products, which critics say appeal more to young smokers.

More than 2 million middle school and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2017, according to a report from the FDA.

— Tess Bonn