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The State of Vape - Dr. Stephen Hahn

The State of Vape - Dr. Stephen Hahn

The team has been hard at work advocating on behalf of vapers throughout the year. On December 12, 2019, Dr. Stephen Hahn was appointed as the next Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. What does this mean? This gives Dr. Hahn the ability to influence regulation and legislation concerning vape products. In this blog, we will look at who Dr. Hahn is and what his stances are on vaping, and what you can do to continue to advocate for your right to vape.


About Dr. Hahn

Dr. Hahn was born on January 22, 1960, and embarked on a medical career after studying at Rice University and Temple University. On his first career stop in Santa Rosa, California, as a medical and radiation oncologist, Dr. Hahn then worked at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 1989 to 1995. He served as the chief of the NCI’s Prostate Cancer Clinic in the Clinical Pharmacology Branch from 1993 to 1999. Dr. Hahn was also a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps during this time.

His experience in oncology, which deals with the treatment of cancer, led him to another position at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) as radiation and medical oncologist. He became a funded researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Dr. Hahn also served as the Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UPenn as well. Dr. Hahn became known for successfully applying for NIH grants and funding, ranking first or second in NIH funding throughout his time at UPenn. After leaving UPenn in 2014, he became the Division Head of Radiation Oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in 2015. Dr. Hahn was then promoted to Chief Medical Executive at MD Anderson in 2018.

President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Hahn for FDA commissioner in November 2019. The position requires Senate confirmation, and Dr. Hahn was confirmed with a 72-18 vote on December 12, 2019. Dr. Hahn is the 24th FDA Commissioner in United States history.


Dr. Hahn on Vaping

Dr. Hahn’s stances on vaping are unclear. During the confirmation process, he managed to sidestep many questions concerning vaping. However, he said that he would follow the “science and evidence” on vaping, which is a vague answer and leaves both vaping advocates and vaping critics unsure of where Dr. Hahn’s allegiances currently stand. However, Dr. Hahn has gained some support from the vaping industry’s biggest critics, such as Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Dr. Hahn said to me that he doesn’t want to be known in history as the head of the FDA who saw this epidemic grow dramatically,” Durbin said.

Durbin is one of vaping’s biggest critics and has taken a very aggressive stance against the industry. He advocates for new taxes on e-cigarettes and restricting flavors to discourage underage use, although adults vape flavors. Many vapers credit flavors for helping them make the switch to vaping, and this is something that Dr. Hahn should consider when following the “science and evidence” on vaping. Durbin has also fought the tobacco industry for much of his political career, even stretching back to his time in the House of Representatives when he represented Illinois’s 20th congressional district from 1983 to 1997.


What Can I Do?

While we may know some of Dr. Hahn’s stances on vaping in the following weeks, there is a lot you can do to help provide the science and evidence Dr. Hahn needs to make informed decisions on vaping. You can take action alongside the team, and you can read our blogs here on We are looking forward to providing you news and information regarding vaping, alongside the regulations and legislation coming forth in 2020.

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