The vape community was quick to react on Tuesday, April 19, when news broke that the House Appropriations Committee had passed an amendment regarding vaping. Yes, the excitement was justified, but this doesn’t mean our work protecting vaping rights is done. First, we need to understand exactly what this recent amendment means for the vaping industry and community as a whole. Only then can we look ahead at where we’re at with the FDA deeming regulations. What the Amendment Means The amendment, introduced by Oklahoma Representatives Tom Cole and Sanford Bishop, amends the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Bill. Passed by a 31-19 vote, the amendment changes “the predicate date for vapor products under FDA deeming regulations,” according to the Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association (better known as SFATA). The current date in the FDA deeming regulations is February 15, 2007, which would mean that “tobacco” products introduced after that date would be forced to undergo an extensive--and expensive--Pre-Market Tobacco Analysis (PMTA) process. Forecasts predict that this so-called “grandfather date” would put nearly 99% of the vaping industry out of business. The amendment doesn’t officially change the grandfather date. It changes the date to “the effective date the FDA issues its final deeming regulations,” according to Convenience Store and Fuel News. The amendment passed in the House of Representatives committee, so what’s next? What’s Next for Vapers The FDA might not get around to finalizing its deeming regulations until 2017, and there’s still a lot vapers have to face before declaring certain victory. Some sources suggest the PMTA date would be changed to 2014 or 2015, but the final language needs to be tweaked and passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. As vaping advocate and American Vaping Association President Greg Conley cautions, “All this change does is force the agency to regulate the vapor products rather than just ban 99% of the products on the market today.” Of course Conley knows what he’s talking about. In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that e cigarettes and e juice are not tobacco products, but it does take several lawmakers to officially decide that. The FDA, along with several “health experts” and the mass media, seem to think that vape products are tobacco products and should fall under the discretion of the FDA. Vapers, many of whom credit vaping with helping them find an alternative to smoking, beg to differ. The Opposition The mass media and several members of the medical community side with the FDA’s opinion that a change to the 2007 date might “make it easier for new products to stay on the market before it is determined whether they attract youth or otherwise harm public health.” Vapers and industry advocates are behind the idea of regulations that make sense, not regulations that would be enforced just for the sake of crippling the e-cig industry and promoting big tobacco. Since this particular amendment had the backing of Cole (a Republican) and Bishop (a Democrat), it’s a rare and welcome show of bipartisan support for vaping. What You Can Do First things first, you can spread the word. Share this and other articles to keep the general public informed about vaping. The mass media likes to jump on terrible news, skewed stories, and misconceptions. The more we band together, the stronger our voice will be. You can take a few other steps to support our cause:
- Sign this petition to support HR 2058
- Keep up with the news on our Facebook page
- Support initiatives by SFATA, CASAA, AVA and the Vaping Technology Association
Thanks for your support vapers. We got this.