Washington — President Trump has nominated Stephen Hahn to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — a role left by Scott Gottlieb in April.
Hahn has been the chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since May 2018.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hahn will have to figure out how to deal with the ongoing controversy over vaping and e-cigarettes. An increasing number of vaping-linked lung illnesses has attracted national concern and driven the president and first lady to make vaping prevention, especially among children and teens, a priority.
Critics of vaping have questioned why the FDA has done so little to regulate the products. As Gottlieb left the FDA, the former commissioner — who served on the board of a company that sold vaping products — warned that stricter action may be needed.
“If we see another sharp increase in the youth [vaping] rates this year,” Gottlieb said in an exclusive interview with CBS News earlier this year, “we’re gonna have to look at more draconian measures like potentially taking these pod-based products off the market entirely.”
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 78% increase in high school students using e-cigarettes in one year. That raised the number of middle and high school students who use tobacco to almost 5 million.
The Trump administration announced an effort in September to ban flavored e-cigarette products, which are popular among teens. Whether the administration will be able to accomplish that remains to be seen.