A top policy official for the Trump Administration has suggested that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) should not be regulating tobacco products.
At a press conference, Joe Grogan—director of the domestic policy council—stated he thought that FDA, a health organization, shouldn’t be regulating tobacco products as they provide no health benefit in his opinion.
According to STAT, Grogan explained his position:
I hate tobacco issues, I always have… and FDA shouldn’t be regulating this stuff in the first place.
When I was in the Bush administration and this conversation started, I said, ‘This is a moronic idea.. FDA regulates drugs that help people, and you balance safety and effectiveness. It regulates devices, which help people, and you balance whether they’re safe and effectiveness.”
Notably, Grogan isn’t suggesting that tobacco products shouldn’t be regulated, rather, that FDA shouldn’t be the ones regulating them.
It’s unclear which agency Grogan would prefer to regulate tobacco—he gave no alternative—but any move away from FDA would likely be a welcome change for most in the tobacco industry.
Unfortunately for the cigar industry, Grogan’s idea would require a monumental number of changes. Congress, not the White House, would need to be the one to shift the regulatory authority from FDA to another change, dramatically decreasing the likelihood.
According to STAT, Grogan later clarified his ideas were personal and not representative of the White House.