Will we finally see electronic cigarette regulations in place during 2015?
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has huffed and puffed regarding electronic cigarettes, we still await the final draft for future regulations. What was initially a two-year review of the industry is now more of a three-year review and while progress has been made, there are still no definitive electronic cigarette regulations in place. Could 2015 be the year that electronic cigarettes finally fall under the guise of the FDA?
Delays, delays, delays
While the ongoing review of the electronic cigarette industry by the FDA has attracted much criticism, if you look further back, towards the start of the century, the situation was even worse. After initially attempting to ban electronic cigarettes out right, the FDA was forced into an embarrassing U-turn when the courts overturned the ruling and forced the administration back to the drawing board. Were lessons learned?
Well, while some would suggest that lessons have been learned, the fact remains that as of today there are no definitive electronic cigarette regulations in place. The latest feedback from the FDA is now out to consultation with the industry, the tobacco companies are looking to pressurise the FDA and some electronic cigarette companies are looking to increase the cost of regulation. Why?
Big business is taking over
Bizarrely, there is speculation that some tobacco company owned electronic cigarette operations are looking to increase short to medium term regulatory costs. On the surface this looks like a crazy move but it could have a major impact upon small to medium term electronic cigarette operations. Many of them will be forced to merge or potentially go out of business which will hand yet more power and influence to the tobacco cigarette companies – now trampling all over the electronic cigarette sector.
Even though tobacco related headlines suggest the industry is under pressure, tobacco cigarette smoking rates continue to fall and there are problems in the short to medium term, how financially stable are these companies? Despite a number of compensation arrangements with local authorities, companies and individuals around the world, many of the world’s largest tobacco companies are still extremely cash rich. They have enormous wealth which they are more than happy to use to influence the electronic cigarette industry and potentially push small to medium sized operations to the brink of collapse.
Is the FDA appreciating public opinion?
There are very strict rules which govern what the FDA can and cannot do and many of these are directly linked with the benefits to the wider general public. There is some concern that some of these strict rules are being interpreted in a manner which could hand yet greater influence to the tobacco companies in the future sale of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. Many experts also suggest that the delay in the announcement of FDA regulations could be linked to potential courtroom challenges by the electronic cigarette industry.
Whatever the FDA decides to put in place for the sale of electronic cigarettes in the future, it will need to be watertight, backed up by facts and statistics and, perhaps more importantly, it needs to be palatable for the wider general public. Can the FDA really deliver?
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.