Published on September 13th, 2016 | by Rob4
Why Vapers Should Be Worried About Government Regulation of the Vaping Industry
By summer 2017, e-juices like the one you may be enjoying as you read this could no longer be available.
The shop where you sample and buy e-juices while chatting with the owner may be shutting its doors.
While neither of these is a sure thing, if current government rulings are allowed to stand, the vaping industry could be doomed.
Change Is Already Here
In accordance with the recently issued FDA Deeming Rule, numerous changes went into effect on August 8, 2016, including:
There are no more free e-liquid samples. If a vendor wants to offer samples of anything, they have to charge you for them.
Vape shop employees might no longer assist you with assembling hardware or replacing coils unless you first purchase the device.
There are fewer vending machines in vape shops.
You’re required to show proof of age when you’re making a purchase at a vape shop, even if you’re clearly old enough to buy the product. (Well, most of us agree that keeping vaping products away from underage consumers is a good thing.)
But the Deeming Rule has much more troubling consequences that are cause for serious concern within the vaping industry and, by extension, for vapers like you.
Even Bigger Change Is Ahead
For you, the biggest casualty of the Deeming Rule will be your freedom of choice: You may soon no longer be able to enjoy new e-liquid flavors or upgrade to new hardware.
The primary reason behind this is the FDA’s pre-market tobacco application (PMTA) for tobacco and related products. All manufacturers must now put their products through an extensive authorization process that includes human studies and other testing, then submit applications for those products to the FDA no later than August 2018.
A PMTA must be completed for each device, each e-liquid, and even each variation of an e-liquid flavor, e.g., one with a different amount of nicotine, that the manufacturer has on the market or intends to put on the market.
While that requirement is daunting enough, consider also that the FDA has estimated this process will cost a minimum of $300,000 per flavor or device. Vaping industry representatives expect the actual price tag to be much higher.
Multiply $300,000 (as a baseline) by the number of devices, flavors, and variations of flavors any manufacturer may offer and you’ll see there’s a strong financial incentive for them not to introduce new flavors or devices, or even keep many existing ones on the market.
There go your choices.
If a manufacturer can manage those exorbitant costs, the FDA still may not approve their products. In fact, FDA’s track record of approving PMTAs is abysmal.
What’s more, some vape shops are now categorized as manufacturers if they mix flavors, assemble hardware, or import products from abroad. That means they, too, will have to undergo the authorization process for every product.
Does your favorite vape shop owner have the resources to do so? Probably not.
By now it should be clear why everyone from major manufacturers to small vape shops is worried, and why you should be, too.
A Little Background: How’d We Get Here?
When Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, one of the provisions was that every tobacco product (as vaping products are currently considered) on the market by February 15, 2007 would be exempt from a PMTA, while any product introduced from that day forward would require some type of premarket authorization from the FDA.
You read that correctly: They backdated the deadline to a time when vaping was barely on the radar. Calling that “absurd” is being charitable.
And if you’re wondering why vaping products, which are tobacco-free by definition, are even classified alongside tobacco products, join the club. The federal government has yet to adequately explain or justify this position.
Nonetheless, the FDA has “deemed” that vaping products are tobacco products, and manufacturers (and some retailers) now have a host of new time- and cost-intensive requirements to meet.
Take Action Now
The industry has already begun fighting back. Nicopure Labs, LLC, which is known for the Halo and eVo e-liquid brands, immediately took the FDA to court when the Deeming Rule went into effect in May 2016.
The manufacturer was soon joined by other interested parties in a lawsuit that’s still underway.
Vapers also have a few sympathetic allies in Congress. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) came together in early 2016 to sponsor an amendment that would move the grandfather date of all tobacco products from February 15, 2007 to August 8, 2016.
Should this happen, products that were on the market by the later date could continue to be sold without being subject to the protracted and expensive authorization process.
Voice your support for vaping and for freedom! Let your representatives in Congress know that you’re a vaper, and that you want these products to remain legal and accessible.
Encourage them to back the Cole-Bishop Amendment, which is part of the 2017 Agricultural Appropriations bill. Remind them this will help the economy through jobs and tax revenue.
If you feel vaping has helped you in any way, be sure to mention that, too.
Also, reach out to lawmakers in your state and/or city to discuss any laws under consideration that will impact your ability and right to vape.
The future of vaping is not only in the hands of courts, Congress, and your state capitol — it’s in yours as well.
Take action now to help protect it.