The vaping world is all too familiar with clouds, and to most of us, the heavier the better. But if (eventually) the FDA gets its way, May 5, 2016 will go down as one that cast a heavy dark cloud on the vape universe. And no, this wasn’t from the VG. This was different. This was ominous. May be nimbus.
For it is on that day that an omnibus bill that will change the vape industry as we know it came into effect. For the sake of those who don’t know what an omnibus bill entails, allow me. Basically it is a proposed law that spans a wide range of diverse and practically unrelated topics. It’s usually passed into law with a single vote, bundling multiple proposals into one.
The downside with such a law is that the sheer size and scope of the bills contained makes it extremely difficult for people to scrutinize and debate the information within them. It is for this reason you’ll find time and again many arguing against the constitutionality of such a bill; and this is no different.
So, what has this got to do with you as a vaper?
Finally, the New Vaping Regulations are Here
Well, on that fifth day of May, the FDA released a 499-page document spelling out the new regulations imposed on the e-cigarette industry.
As things stand, e-cigarettes and vapor products (this includes everything from e-juice to atomizers to vape tanks) have been reclassified as tobacco products and will be regulated by government in the same way it does traditional cigarettes. This will also cover pipe tobacco, hookahs, premium cigars and little cigars, and other products.
That means they can neither be marketed to minors under the age of 18 years, nor can they be used in places like restaurants, bars, theaters and other locations that forbid smoking.
But that’s not the big issue here. In fact, some habits like vaping in public spaces with little regard to those around you have caused vaping a bad name, and if you’re like most of us, it’s certainly something you can’t defend. The same goes for selling vape products to minors.
Under the new vaping regulations, every vaping product will now need to be registered through a costly, time-consuming process called a PMTA (Premarket Tobacco Application) that will cost companies millions. Yes, including the thousands of small businesses where you source your juice from.
The new vaping regulations will not affect any e-cigarette or vaping product (juice or hardware) that was on the market as of February 15, 2007. But anything that came after has to undergo a prolonged and expensive process to ascertain that it doesn’t have more risk to it than a product that was on the market pre-2007.
Sounds like a lot of blabber, I know, but in other words, devices made after that time have to prove they are not dangerous, while the ones that came before do not.
Of course, no one is saying proving vape products (the devices and e-liquid) are not dangerous is a bad thing. As at now, however, what’s clear is that it’s been proven to be less harmful than smoking – by both sides of the divide, mind you. But if you’ve been in the habit for long, you will know that simply doesn’t cut it in some quarters – studies or not.
And now to that age issue…
California has a New Minimum Smoking Age
California governor Jerry Brown – the one whose re-election was almost solely funded by the Altria Group – has signed another pack of new vaping regulations whose highlights include raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 years and restricting the use of e-cigs in public places; public schools are also officially no smoking zones now.
This comes in the wake of the reclassification of e-cigarettes as tobacco, with bill author Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) arguing that ‘vaping devices are aggressively marketed to young people with candy flavors [that appeal to them] such as bubble gum’. He based his argument on a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which established the rate of e-cigarette use among high school students to have tripled between 2013 and 2014.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Just so you know, of all states in the US, California is the only mainland state to raise the ‘smoking’ age to 21 (save for Hawaii across the pond). The second highest have it capped at 19 years of age, including Utah, Alaska and New Jersey.
State Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) proposed the age bill citing a need to stem adolescent addiction and ‘save lives’ as his motivation, with the state putting up ‘a united front against Big Tobacco’.
We agree with his point to save lives, without a doubt. Everyone knows cigarettes kill. It’s the reason we switched to vaping in the first place.
Speaking of Big Tobacco…
A Win for Big Tobacco
Casting an eye into the future, Big Tobacco seems to be the winner. They may look like a victim from an outsider’s point of view (with Mr Brown’s antics and all) but this is just a smokescreen. It’s a world of fine lines we live in today.
Look at all those companies who made vape products before 2007. They have all been purchased by the big tobacco companies (the establishment), meaning it’s business as usual for them. Unlike everyone else who will be party to this draconian bill.
But with an industry that generated $3.5 billion in 2015 alone, it’s easy to see why. The Order always wins.
Job Loss, Costly Lifestyle and the Butterfly Effect
It seems some people just couldn’t wait for these bills to get passed because apparently, the bills touching on smoking (vaping is in this category too now) are expected to take effect on June 9; unlike all the others that become active on January 1, 2017.
For well moneyed entities like Big Tobacco, complying with these new vaping regulations won’t take much, and probably a bunch of the other larger vaping companies as well. But the same cannot be said of the thousands of vape shops in the country who make up the bulk of the industry; those shops whose sole business is selling their own custom e-liquid.
Based on how this law is drafted, every company would have to present an application for approval for every single e-liquid flavor they produce and intend to produce in the future. Going by estimates from the FDA, the PMTA process will require 1,500 hours per product.
That’s right, one thousand five hundred hours for every flavor and every nicotine level of e-liquid. In addition, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products director Mitch Zeller says the process will also cost ‘several hundred thousand’ dollars per individual application. Which at the end of the day will mean more expensive e-liquid as this cost trickles down to the consumer.
You can guess what the butterfly effect of all this is likely to be.
For one, a good deal of those who made the choice to quit, or switch rather, are likely to turn back to their old ways. Second, an underground market for e-liquid similar to the days of prohibition will emerge. This is a discussion you’ve probably come across in the online vaping community as regulation became imminent.
The emphasis on e-liquid you see here as opposed to the hardware is because they are the reason these controversies erupted in the first place.
But even the mod market won’t be spared either. Companies that sell all the separate hardware you use to build your mods will need to register all the individual parts, with regulation even hinting at building closed-system models that don’t allow for customization.
The new vaping regulations bring dark days indeed. But unless I’m not from around here, I can’t foresee a world where vapers will play subservient and tow this line. If the black market for guns and drugs (online or otherwise) has been thriving for decades with little regard for the law, I don’t see why e-liquid and vape hardware will not.
After all, last time I checked, almost all atomizer and mod creators are located overseas, and particularly in Asia. Of course, the new vaping regulations in the United States will have a reverberating effect on their business. Naturally, they can (and will) peddle their wares to other countries which also have their own regulations, but so far not as stringent as the ones being implemented in the United States, the Land of the Free. Oh, the irony.
And considering most of the good e-liquids come from companies in the US, those countries too are likely to feel the heat, no doubt.
But where does that leave Big Tobacco? They’ll be cashing virtually all the cheques that come to the United States.
It would be terrible and such a shame if an industry that’s been built by the end consumer who made the conscious decision to quit tobacco for a healthier lifestyle is thrown to the same group whom we avoided in the first place. At the expense of thousands of average folks like you and I whom they care little about because they don’t want to share a piece of the profit.
As they say around here, the industry will be thrown to the dogs.
It’s the last thing we want to say about vaping.
So, what can we do about these new vaping regulations? Here are some links to get you started:
Petition to the white House: Needs 42,191 signatures by June 4, 2016
Message to your Representative: Send a message to your Representative
Message to the Attorney General: Send a message to your state Attorney General
Tell your Story: Share your story with CASAA as part of their ‘Testimonial Project’
It’s indeed a sad end of week for vape enthusiasts in the US following the new FDA e-cigarette rule to treat e-cigarettes like tobacco products. This new rule will greatly affect the vaping industry. Read on to find out about the new regulation.
Feds announce much tougher e-cigarette, cigar rule
A new FDA e-cigarette rule was put into place on May 5th announcing that electronic cigarettes will now be regulated much like tobacco cigarettes. The sale of vaping products was also banned. The new rule will now require U.S. FDA to approve all tobacco products not currently regulated that hit stores after February 2007. The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 sets Feb. 15, 2007, as the latest date by which all tobacco products would have to have to be grandfathered in.
The new regulation will also affect premium, hand-rolled cigars, as well as hookah and pipe tobacco. The FDA officials have termed this new regulation as “historic” and will prohibit selling “covered tobacco products” to people younger than 18, and buyers must show photo ID. Manufacturers of vape products will also be required to display health warnings on cigarette tobacco, roll-your own tobacco, and covered tobacco product packages and in advertisements. The new rule has also banned free samples and the sale of covered products in vending machines not located in adult-only facilities.
Read more on this sad news on the USA Today.
(Photo: Ron Johnson, AP)
Why is the government out to destroy vaping?
E-cigarettes were introduced into the market with the aim of assisting smokers quit. The vaping devices are believed to reduce harm from smoking by 95%. Unfortunately, unlike other value added products, e-cigarettes have received negative appreciation from various corners, especially by various governments around the world. The reaction has been silence at times, outright suppression at others. There have been plenty of lies to accompany this bizarre smear campaign.
Despite studies such as a recent one by the Britain’s Royal College of Physicians that found that if smokers switched to e-cigarettes, it would “prevent almost all of the harm from smoking,” e-cigarettes are still being opposed. Instead of pretending vaping is nearly as dangerous as smoking, those against it should tell the truth. What the critics need to understand is that if regulation “makes e-cigarettes less easily accessible, less palatable or acceptable, more expensive, less consumer friendly or pharmacologically less effective, or inhibits innovation and development of new and improved products, then it causes harm by perpetuating smoking.”
Check out the rest of the opinion piece on The New York Post.
It’s great news when doctors come in support of e-cigarettes and recommend them as better quitting aids. E-cigarettes have come under attack over the last two years, so much that their existence has been threatened. Let’s find out why doctors think e-cigs are the better quitting aids.
E-cigarettes should be offered to smokers, say doctors
The UK’s Royal College of Physicians have said that smokers should be offered and encouraged to use e-cigarettes to help them quit. The doctors believe there is enough evidence that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking and aid quitting. In a 200-page report, the medical body said that with the right measures, vaping could improve the lives of millions of people. The doctors also felt that claims that e-cigs are a gateway to smoking are unfounded.
Sales of e-cigarettes have been rising steadily since 2007 when they first started selling in the UK. Since 2012, they have replaced nicotine patches and gum to become the most popular choice of smoking cessation aid in England.
Around one in 20 adults in England uses e-cigarettes, and nearly all of these are ex-smokers or current smokers who are trying to cut down or quit. E-cigarettes have continued to raise a lot of controversial and there have been attempts to ban them from public places. The medical body says smokers who use e-cigarettes or prescribed medications – with support from their doctor – are more likely to quit permanently.
Check out the rest of the story on BBC News.
Public health should step aside. Vapers are now leading the fight against smoking
E-cigarettes have the potential to dramatically reduce smoking levels in Britain and have actually already done so. According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 863,000 current e-cigarette users are no longer smokers and a further 720,000 people are both ex-smokers and previous e-cigarette users. Public health leaders unfortunately are not in support of these quitting aids. Only one out of 150 local directors of public health in Britain has pointed out the potential of e-cigs as successful smoking cessation aids.
Despite this opposition the vaping movement has, in just a few years, changed the landscape of smoking cessation. E-cigarette sales have overtaken sales of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. They are the most common quitting aids used to help people stop smoking. Smoking cessation services are losing business, with the number of customers who set a quit date declining 45 per cent between 2011/12 and 2014/15.
Check out the rest of the details on Health Spectator.
Hello world. This week we had some good news from The House Appropriations Committee that passed a vaping amendment that will save over 90 percent of vaping products from the upcoming FDA regulation. Here are the details:
Vapers Win Big: House Committee Passes Amendment To Save E-Cigarettes
The House Appropriations Committee passed a vaping amendment this week that could save 99% of e-cigarette products from regulation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to announce its vaping regulation which will require all e-cigarette products that came on the market after February 15, 2007 (predicate date), to go through the onerous Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process.
The vaping amendment was introduced in the House by GOP Rep. Tom Cole and Democrat Rep. Sanford Bishop, and passed by 31-19 despite the protests from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Unlike the US Food and Drug Administration, which is rumored to issue one-size-fits-all regulation of e-cigarettes as tobacco products as early as this month, the majority of members of the Appropriations Committee clearly understand that vapor products represent the first game-changing technology in the ongoing campaign to reduce cigarette smoking.
Tony Abboud, the Vapor Technology Association’s national legislative director said.
See further details on the vaping amendment on The Daily Caller.
Editorial: Don’t Regulate E-cigs as Tobacco Products
Although e-Cigarettes have little in common with actual cigarettes, the government is trying to regulate them as a tobacco product. This will consequently destroy the growing vaping industry that is believed to save lives otherwise lost to smoking.
The fight against smoking cigarettes in the United States is on the increase and the rates are decreasing. However, some people are still struggling to quit, or are enjoying the sensation of smoking but don’t want to risk their health. In such cases, e-cigarettes can be beneficial. The cartridge holds liquid nicotine that’s typically flavored and creates a water vapor, which many mistake to be smoke. But it doesn’t smell like smoke, and it isn’t smoke. There are no second-hand dangers. That means it’s a much healthier alternative than inhaling smoke from traditional tobacco products.
Unfortunately, the FDA is about to finalize and release its long-awaited regulation on e-cigs, and is considering a provision that would burden e-cig makers so heavily it will put almost all out of business. E-cigs offer benefits similar to other tobacco cessation products, such as gums or patches that help smokers taper off nicotine. The government should therefore regulate e-cigs lightly rather than trample science to achieve its misinformed goal.
Get more details on The Detroit News.
Hello vapers! Today we take a look at how to understand upcoming FDA regulation and other top vaping news.
Bluffer’s guide to FDA regulation of tobacco and nicotine products
Upcoming FDA regulations targeting e-cigarettes are causing a lot of concern within the vaping industry and to vapers a like. The consequences of the vaping regulations could cause a major problem in the industry, and could also lead to major changes that will affect how and where we vape. A lot of the anxiety is due to lack of knowledge on what the FDA regulation is all about. This Bluffer’s guide gives some facts on the FDA and regulations to make it easier for you to understand what is about to happen.
Check out the guide on The counterfactual.
Governor, Legislature Clash Over E-Cigarette Regulations
There has been a continuous trend in the US to tax e-cigarettes. Michigan lawmakers however, appear to have little interest in taxing e-cigarettes in the same way as traditional tobacco products. In the current Legislature, just one bill has been introduced to do so, sponsored by Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit). This bill has interestingly been met by strong criticism from other legislators opposing treating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product for tax reasons. The bill appears stuck in committee with no indication it will be brought to the floor anytime soon. Michigan currently has a tobacco tax of $2 per pack. The state also has the 10th-highest cigarette smuggling rate nationally.
Coleman Young’s bill is laughable and dead on arrival.
Said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
Read the rest of the story on Michigan Capitol Confidential.