Currently, the future of the vaping industry is clouded with uncertainty. Predatory FDA deeming regulations on electronic cigarettes threaten to severely damage the ability of independent American small businesses to succeed. Worse than that, smokers desperately looking for an answer to cigarette addiction may see their personal options compromised potentially causing tremendous harm to public health.
Right now, numerous enterprises are actively competing to design and market ever improving vapor products to provide a smoking alternative to smokers. As of August 8th this year, that could end. Also as of August 8, 99% of current vapor products will have two years to pay millions of dollars to stay on the market. Given that the majority of businesses affected are small businesses that do not have the resources to pay the FDA’s fees, the industry is under siege from overreach and oppressive regulation.
Vaping will survive regulation but the current vibrance of the industry that is now providing so many options could be reduced to a static market with only a few massive corporate players. In fact, it could be that the only vaping products that you will be able to buy in 2018 might be the basic cigalikes currently sold in gas stations. Of course, the industry is mobilizing and coming together to ensure that smokers have a right to live smoke free.
There are numerous vaping lawsuits ongoing that are fighting for your right to smoke free alternatives. There is Bill HR 2058 that could allow new vapor products currently on the market to remain. In addition to these battles, the vaping community has another ally that is working to protect the industry and the lives of smokers.
Senator Ron Johnson Fights For The Right To Be Smoke Free
Senator Ron Johnson immediately reacted to the announcement of FDA deeming regulations when they were put into effect in May this year. Senator Johnson’s original letter to the FDA was address to Dr. Califf, the FDA commissioner. The specific questions posed by the Wisconsin Senator were:
1. The final rule notes that the FDA does “not currently have sufficient data about e-cigarettes and similar products to fully determine what effects they have on the public health.” Further, the final rule states that “comments were divided on the safety and toxicity of e-liquids, e-cigarettes, and the exhaled aerosol.”
- Will the FDA issue a revised rule if there is sufficient data that finds that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes? Please explain.
- How is the FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes not a premature restriction on an industry given the FDA’s admission that it does not have “sufficient data” about e-cigarettes to determine the effects on the public’s health?
2. Some stakeholders claim that the FDA’s rule on e-cigarettes will stifle innovation and result in the closure of many small businesses that create and sell e-cigarette products.
- Did the FDA determine how many e-cigarette businesses will be affected by the rule? If not, why?
- If so, please provide that data.
- Of the e-cigarette businesses that will be affected by the rule, how many of those businesses does the FDA predict will exit the market as a result of the new requirements?
3. Has the FDA considered the unintended consequences if decreased access to e-cigarettes leads to increased consumption of traditional cigarette and tobacco products? Please explain.
Please provide this material as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 31, 2016. When delivering production sets, please produce to Majority staff in room 340 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building and to Minority staff in room 613 of the Hart Senate Office Building.
Demanding Answer From The FDA
May 31 has come and gone and the FDA has not replied. The FDA would do well to reply given that Senator Johnson is the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. That particular committee has the responsibility and authority to investigate the efficiency and economy of all branches of government. The Senator’s questions to the FDA certainly fall into both efficiency and economy.
In a second letter to the FDA commissioner regarding FDA deeming regulations of tobacco products, including a claim that ecigs are included as tobacco products, Senator Johnson gave a second deadline. The Senator advised that if he did not receive responses to the questions, he may seek measures to compel the FDA to respond. The second deadline has come and gone with no response. Senator Johnson is still looking for answers. The FDA is surely hoping that the Senator just goes away. That is not likely. The FDA is stonewalling the wrong Senator.
In an era when the Senate seems unable to accomplish much and many Senators seem to take a whole lot of time off, Senator Johnson has been a very active legislator of behalf of his constituents and the country. In addition to being Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Senator serves on 11 subcommittees. He has proposed 61 bills in the last five years including several designed to improve performance and accountability in government and health matters. Senator Johnson does not mess around.
The fight for the right to be smoke free and to protect vaping carries on. You can be a part of it and stand up for your right to vape. Support the ongoing efforts to challenge the FDA deeming regulations and their massive, predatory scope.