What Vape Shop Retailers Need To Know…?
I hope by now many vape retailers and vapers are totally confused with all the information I have put out to you. I am not a writer by nature, and I hope this summary will not bore you to tears. It does contain vital information vape retailers have to know, and vapers should know. Life after 8/8 is going to be very different for everyone in the vape community… for a while at least.
This article will be a brief summary of the previous 3 articles, along with comments and suggestions from me. These represent some of the things I will be doing to stay alive with my own vape shop.
Certificate of Conformity
By now you should have called all your e-juice manufacturers or wholesalers. This could be as simple as an email to your representative. Ask them where they are with the FDA Regulations set to go into effect August 8, 2016. If they plan on staying in business you should request and receive by July 26th, 2016, the GCC (Certificate of Conformity, mentioned in Part 1). This is easy for them. There are a few companies in the U.S. doing all the bottle testing. These must be on file at the store in case of audit. The nicotine labeling by 2018 will take care of itself. Putting a few words or a label on a bottle or ENDS is easy.
If the manufacturer or distributor has no GCC for the bottles, I suggest you reduce the prices and get rid of the stock on your floor, and focus on the companies that are in this for the long haul.
Chinese manufacturers will be less likely to have these so be sure they send you the proper documentation. I would assume the larger manufacturers, like DeKang, will be able to comply. I do know some of these large Chinese companies have distribution centers in the U.S. Keep in mind that you will be unable to import from China, unless you become a manufacturer, so you will have to look for a manufacturer or importer that can do it for you. Seek out Chinese companies with U.S. warehouses.
ENDS products will cost more
Just as a fact, our large ENDS manufacturers like Innokin, Joyetech, Smok, etc, have their own lobbyist group in Washington DC, and have hired lawyers to represent them and to translate. China is the heart of the electronic cigarette business and they have a great deal to lose if they don’t comply. But once again you will have to buy through a third party. The cost of all ENDS products will increase, or your profit margin will be reduced. Plan for it.
Next, if you want to stay in business after August 8, you should be seeking out large manufacturers who are willing to attempt and can afford to submit to the FDA regulations. I have, for my business, three large e-juice manufacturers who are planning on moving ahead. Most are changing e-juice formulas, bottle sizes, and nicotine levels, to make it less expensive to get through the process. I know of many more that are moving ahead. Cost will be higher once again. Plan for it.
Once they have started submitting PMTA’s to the FDA, they have 2 years to get through the process. That gives them 2 years more to stay in business.
NOTE: A manufacturer with 3200 products (sku’s) has to submit a PMTA for each. (That’s for another article). They say it will take those 81 years to get all the testing done and submitted at a cost of close to a billion dollars. They have since filed a lawsuit, which will be heard on August 16, 2016.
Now, let’s talk about the ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems as described in part 1). All systems on the market after the grandfather date of February 2007, must submit a PMTA to the FDA. This includes all the parts, like coils, tanks, batteries, computer chips, etc. The FDA in their deeming regulations suggest that manufacturers submit and sell these units as a one piece, in which case it must be sold as one piece, including a bottle of e-juice. The regulations as they stand will reduce the variety of new ENDS product placed back into the market.
If you are not aware of the type of e-cigarette on the market before the grandfather date, it was a 180-mAh battery, with either a cartridge or a small atomizer with liquid filled cartridges that were punctured when snapped into the atomizer, or cig-a-like disposables, very similar to the Big Tobacco e-cigarettes, like the VUSE.
With that in mind, those big tobacco companies that are selling the “cig-a-like” ENDS product will not have to endure the expense and regulations to get them approved. Because the ENDS unit they produce can be proven to be similar to the product on the market prior to 2007. And now you know why they were behind the regulations. They will be the only winners in the end.
If you have a small vape shop, you might look into partnering with the big tobacco accounts and selling those products to hold you over. When I say “hold you over“, I mean exactly that. In my humble opinion I think the FDA is going to lose some of the lawsuits. The grandfather date is arbitrary, and will not allow growth in what is deemed the best way to quit smoking cigarettes.
Vape Retailers Loop Holes?
Those vape retailers that allow sampling or free products will have to stop all that free testing. There is a loop hole here. Charge a small fee like 10 cents for the sample and then deduct that amount from the cost of the bottle they buy. Remember nothing is free any more. I give a free bottle of e-juice with every purchase of a kit in my store. Now the kit comes with a bottle which is included in the price. Semantics that’s all.
Last but not least, if you are mixing, preparing, or manufacturing e-juice, you might want to rethink your marketing plan. Unfortunately, you are out of business. I don’t see how any vape retailer can afford the cost of becoming a manufacturer, or the getting through the PMTA process. In addition, if you build coils for customers or even replace coils, you are considered a manufacturer. Can you imagine how the FDA has even dared to overreach with these regulations?
To sum up my summary, I want to say that although most of the vaping world could be decimated by the regulations, there is still a little light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up yet. The industry will be very limited for a time, but I think with pending lawsuits, all we need is one judge to put a hold on these regulations and we will get a few more years of an industry that deserves to be around for the long term. With that said, and the ridiculous regulations, I think we will win in the end. I really believe in my heart that the FDA will be defeated.
Wendy Bivona is also a vape retailer. Wendy is the owner of Premium eCigs, in Melbourne Florida. Follow Wendy on Facebook. Wendy is the most informed advocate on the pro-vaping side, and she will be bringing Spinfuel Readers and Vape Shop Owners vital information for Life after August 8th.