FDA’s Attack on Vaping Industry Blocked by Congress

Smoking is deadly, and vaping is one of the easiest ways to quit. An FDA proposal almost destroyed the vaping industry. A congressional committee just stepped in to save it.

  • The Role of Vaping in Quitting Smoking
  • New FDA Rule Frustrates US Vapers
  • House Appropriations Saves the Day
  • Making the Switch

The Role of Vaping in Quitting Smoking

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show just how devastating cigarettes are to public health:

  • There are approximately 1 billion smokers worldwide, representing (roughly) 14% of the world’s population.
  • As many as half of the people who use tobacco eventually die from the habit.
  • More than 5 million people die from direct use, while more than half a million are killed by second-hand smoke.
  • Does smoking seem like a luxury? It’s not. Four out of every five tobacco users are from low-income or middle-income nations.

Cigarettes are deadly; we all know that. How do you quit? One of the best methods people have found to get off cigarettes is e-cigarettes. Rather than burning and emitting toxic smoke, e-cigarettes release a vapor that contains only trace quantities of the toxic compounds found in cigarettes. In other words, these products are NOT carcinogenic; they’re safe. A 2011 study looked at reasons for the use of electronic cigarettes. Published in the journal Addiction, the report found that 92% of the 3587 participants were using cigarettes to quit or reduce smoking. We all know how addictive smoking is. Does this cessation method work? Another study from 2011, this one from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that e-cigarettes were surprisingly effective when used to get off of traditional cigarettes. “Those respondents using e-cigarettes more than 20 times per day had a quit rate of 70.0%,” notes the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). “Of respondents who were not smoking at 6 months, 34.3% were not using e-cigarettes or any nicotine-containing products at the time.” To sum up, then, cigarettes are dangerous, and vaping offers a safe and effective means to quit – a stepping-stone for many to cut out nicotine entirely.

New FDA Rule Frustrates US Vapers

The FDA has been working up regulations that would be hard on the e-cigarette industry. Why is the FDA coming up with strict rules, if e-cigarettes are so helpful in improving health as a smoking-cessation aid? Follow the money, says Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association (AVA). “For large tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, this is great news,” he explains. “The FDA’s proposed regulations stand to benefit both industries, which represent some of the most well-funded and powerful lobbying interests in the United States.” Basically, people weren’t able to quit with patches, gum, or other pharmaceutical options offered by the big tobacco companies. The tobacco industry’s e-cigarettes have also not been popular; there are simply too many alternatives and too much innovation from small business. FDA rules make business difficult for everyone, but that’s much more the case for small players. After all, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog pointed out just last week that the new federal guidelines would be helpful to the large tobacco firms because it would make it unaffordable for entrepreneurs and SMBs. In other words, the rules are in essence a power-grab by the same companies that got people hooked on smoking in the first place. The specific FDA proposal said that all of the devices that are currently being sold would have to go through a review at an estimated cost of $330,000 per product! Industry estimates for how much this process would cost for each product is much higher, over a million per e-cigarette model. “[T]he agency’s own economic analysis spells doom for all but a couple companies,” says Conley. “That analysis predicts that approximately 99% of products on the market will not even attempt the application process, let alone gain approval.” In other words, it would kill the industry.

House Appropriations Saves the Day

On April 19, the House Appropriations committee voted 31-19 in support of an amendment (the Cole-Bishop amendment) to the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill that disallows the FDA from making almost all e-cigarettes and vaporizers effectively illegal. Conley believes this is a huge win for the vaping community. “The vapor industry and its consumers do not oppose sensible regulation, but the FDA’s proposal is anything but sensible,” he says. “All this change does is force the agency to regulate the vapor products rather than just ban 99%-plus of products on the market today.” Conley notes that the amendment does allow for a substantial breadth of regulations, from general standards to labeling to marketing restrictions, so the industry will likely still see big changes in the near future. Vaping insiders simply want practical safety mechanisms, not a market sabotage – and the effort to protect the industry is not yet over. Conley says keeping that language in the 2017 budget will still require the bi-partisan support of (and political pressure from) consumers nationwide.

Making the Switch

As indicated above, 2016 is sure to be a critical year for the vaping industry. In the meantime, do you want to stop endangering your health by switching from smoking to vaping? At eCIG.com, we only stock new, authentic, brand-name ecig products and accessories. Make the switch.

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