On May 5, 2016 the US FDA finalized a rule that extended its authority over what it refers to as, “all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others.” Their press release goes on to say, “This historic rule helps implement the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and allows the FDA to improve public health and protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use through a variety of steps, including restricting the sale of these tobacco products to minors nationwide.”
According to the rule, any product not on the market as of February 15, 2007 will be subject to approval by the FDA, which means expensive and time consuming research and testing for any vape product that hit the market after that date. That’s more than nine years ago! There were virtually no vape products on the market in the US before that date, thanks to the FDA placing all vaping devices on a list of forbidden products in March of 2009. U.S. Customs and Border Protection rejected all such products from import into the U.S. until a federal court overturned the ruling of January 2010.
All of that means that all current vape products have two years to submit a new tobacco product application and an additional year while the FDA reviews each application. But those applications are not free and require onerous and expensive testing on the part of the manufacturers.
But all is not lost yet. There is a bill before the U.S. Congress, H.R. 2058, the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015, which would change the grandfather date from February 15, 2007 to “the effective date of the regulation.” That means products on the market as of May 10, 2016, the day the FDA rule was published in the Federal Record, would grandfathered in and could remain on the market without needing to go through the approval process.
For H.R. 2058 to continue through the legislative process, it’s vital for vapers to let their U.S. Representative know how important it is to them. Call their office, email them, post your support for the bill on Twitter and Facebook and tag your representative in those posts.
I’ve posted links to a number of resources below, from how to find out who your U.S. Congressman is to links to pages on the CASAA website that will be helpful in the continued fight to protect our right to vape. There’s also a petition generated by my local vape shop, Vapes Gone Wild in Newnan, GA that you can download and circulate.
Passage of H.R. 2058 is crucial, but it will not be the final step. We also need to let our representatives in Washington and at the state and local level know how important vaping is to public health in general and to us specifically. We also need to begin the process of persuading Congress to reel in the FDA and their definition of vaping devices as “tobacco products.” That definition is ludicrous. The only element of tobacco used in type of vaping is nicotine which is usually derived from tobacco. But to say that the minuscule amount of nicotine in ejuice (and nicotine is not even a necessary ingredient in ejuice) makes all vaping devices “tobacco products” is like saying that a wallet made of leather makes it a “beef product” or a “dairy product” because the leather is derived from a cow.
There very well may be more going on here than meets the eye. I would not be surprised if the FDA is bowing to pressure from big pharmaceutical companies who market nicotine patches and gum and other smoking cessation products. But don’t expect anyone at the FDA to admit to that.
Seven Report fully supports the efforts of CASAA and other organizations in the fight to protect our right to vape. We will keep you updated.
Letter/Petition you can send to your representative, courtesy of Vapes Gone Wild