When heads of federal regulatory agencies are health and medical professionals with years of research experience, their background helps guide the mission and vision of the department along with the direction of thousands of staff and employees engaged in implementing health policy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, MD, is a clinician and activist, and he acts as a staunch advocate for public health issues—namely the dangers of tobacco use, especially among young Americans.

By expanding FDA’s jurisdiction under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Gottlieb unveiled FDA’s new directive—with full support from the Department of Health and Human Services—restrictions on combustible cigarettes, the flavors that entice youth smoking, and more in FDA’s Comprehensive Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation.

“I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes.” Gottlieb said in November 2018. “We won’t let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build. We’ll take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing.

Since taking the helm at FDA, Gottlieb has put smoking cessation efforts at the top of the administration’s list. With the advent of electronic tobacco products and the dramatic increase of youth smoking, Gottlieb has held firm in restricting the tobacco industry’s expansion by advancing FDA’s role in curtailing all forms of tobacco consumption.

Talking about his personal experiences with cancer and survivorship, Gottlieb said, “As a physician who cared for hospitalized patients with cancer, I saw firsthand the devastation that smoking-related diseases had wrought on the lives of patients and their families, and dedicated myself to helping ease this suffering.”