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April 22, 2017
2 min to read

Surgeon General Fired by Trump; Was Vaping Report The Cause?

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Jim McDonald

The Trump administration has fired U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, possibly because of the report his office issued last December on “e-cigarettes and youth.” However, this SG also upset Second Amendment proponents by frequently calling gun deaths a public health crisis. President Trump has had strong support from gun rights activists, including the National Rifle Association.

Vapers were maddened by the report on e-cigs which solely focused on the potential harms to adolescents and young people, and entirely ignored the benefits to adult smokers. A campaign to remove Murthy, organized by Americans for Tax Reform, followed the election of Donald Trump.

Despite the public blaming of Murthy, most vaping insiders believe the report was actually coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), then run by committed anti-vaping ideologue Tom Frieden. Frieden opposed electronic cigarettes with the zeal of a true (non-) believer since his early days at the agency.

“Today, Dr. Murthy, the leader of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was asked to resign from his duties as Surgeon General after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration," the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said in a statement quoted by USA Today.

"Dr. Murthy has been relieved of his duties as Surgeon General and will continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps," said the statement. "[DHHS] Secretary Price thanks him for his dedicated service to the nation. Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, who is the current Deputy Surgeon General, will serve as the acting Surgeon General and assume leadership of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.”


The Surgeon General runs the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, but is otherwise a largely ornamental position — unless the SG does something to distinguish himself, as some have. Most famously, SG Luther Terry issued the landmark 1964 report on smoking that began the anti-smoking and tobacco control movement.

Murthy was only 39 years old. He was a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, and is a vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The new acting SG has a masters degree in nursing, and also a PhD in philosophy from the University of Maryland. She has been an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps since 1992.

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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