Vaping Regulations In The Coming Year(s)
Vapers are all aware that vaping is under attack on multiple levels from three different types of government – the federal government, state, and local governments. Although most are discomforted by what seems like the relentless, biased attacks against vaping interests, it can be hard to discern specifically where the future of vaping seems to be going. The spectrum of possible results seem to be minor and agreeable regulations such as prohibiting the sale to minors and an increase in manufacturing standards, all the way to industry-crippling regulations such as extreme taxation, relentless business license requirements, and potentially eliminating all ecig products that were manufactured after February 2007. In fact, according to some sources, the FDA is looking to publish its new regulations within the next month…1 week away.
So what is it looking like for the average vaper? What’s going to happen? Here is what we have seen in the regulatory environment recently, and how it might impact vaping in the future:
Declining Support Amongst The General Public and Smokers Alike for Vaping
Though the scare tactics pushed by public health advocates and governments alike do not phase vapers, it does phase the general public and smokers alike. One piece of research showed that the support of vaping by smokers went down to 65% from 85% from the years 2010 to 2013. While more recent research regarding smoker support of vaping is not currently present, the overarching message is clear: smokers can be convinced by public health advocates that, ironically, they should continue smoking rather than switching to something that is potentially healthier. Considering the redoubling of efforts by anti-vaping groups since 2013 to ban or curtail vaping, you can imagine just how effective their efforts have probably been since then.
The (Very Real) Potential of Eradication of Essentially All Non-Cigalike Vaping Products
Current laws regarding tobacco products in general require pre-market review for tobacco products newly introduced into the market, unless they were created prior to February 2007. If this default provision begins to apply to electronic cigarettes, only products created prior to February 2007 will be allowed to remain on the market until approved. According to the FDA’s own analysis, the amount of money it would cost to have a new product introduced to the market is about $300,000.
Think back to what vaping products existed prior to February 2007…the answer, of course, is essentially none. And what’s more, this pre-market approval process would apply for literally every iteration of eJuice or hardware conceivable. So, your local B&M that has 30 flavors of house juice at 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg nicotine would be on the hook for $45MM to have all of those flavors at the 5 nicotine levels approved.
This default February 2007 lookback date would need to change in order for this FDA provision to not automatically apply to electronic cigarettes. Fortunately, there are some efforts by members of Congress to adjust this date. However, the simple presence of a date at all would necessarily preclude future innovation in the vaping market.
More and more people believe that vaping is designed to attract and hook children.
When researching this article, we noticed that the vast majority of those who opposed vaping did so on grounds that it appeals to children, or that it is a “gateway” to smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, their arguments are only bolstered by the fact that the use of electronic cigarettes by teens now surpasses the use of cigarettes.
Of course, research also shows that the overall use of tobacco products by teens has gone down drastically in the last 3 years. However, standard-bearers in the fight against vaping are not phased. For example, the head of the Center of Disease Control Dr. Tim Frieden states that vape products “harm hundreds of thousands of children”, and sees ecigs as a gateway that will eventually lead to conventional tobacco use.
State Regulations Threaten to Crush Further than Federal Regulations
Those fighting against undue ecig regulations such as CASAA keep a close watch on proposed state and local government regulations, and the proposals that come forward range between a nuisance to business-crippling. For example, Texas Senate Bill 97 is currently before the governor for signature or veto. This bill would require that all B&M’s in Texas run a purchaser’s ID through a verification system that charges $7 per verification! This bill would also make it difficult for online vape shops located in Texas to sell.
Other regulations, such as one in Minnesota, tax ecig products at 95% of their wholesale price. Some municipalities seek to declare that vape shops are “illegitimate businesses”. States such as Ohio, Kansas and Rhode Island are currently considering taxes that have considerable traction in their respective state legislatures.
What Can Be Done to Stem the Tide of Regulation?
It’s clear that electronic cigarettes will be regulated in some way very soon. Of course, vapers are in favor of common-sense safety regulations – CASAA’s position paper on this issue makes this clear.
However, the onslaught of inaccurate and deleterious propaganda coming from public health groups that scares the general public is extreme. Vapers need to realize that we are closer now than ever before to vaping being strongly curtailed, and they need to step up to do something about it.
Vapers can closely follow Reddit’s electronic cigarette subreddit. Although this venue of almost 100,000 members contains information on many vaping topics, it is one of the top sources to find information about regulations. Websites such as ours follow various vaping advocacy, and keep an updated running tab on what is going on.
Further, vapers can always be on the lookout for new news articles on vaping that come out. These news articles are marketed to the general public, and just searching the News section of Google will render all of the new ones. You can also follow Spinfuel’s Vapers News which cull the most important articles and news stories from around the globe.
The fight to keep vaping as it is—an accessible, reasonably-priced alternative to cigarettes—will continue to be a long and hard one. Do what you can on a daily basis to fight against crippling regulations and improve the public’s perception of vaping!
John Fargo is the director of marketing at Hookah Pen King, a vape trick supply store and a new contributor to Spinfuel eMagazine. John is passionate on issues of vaping, and seeks to provide the public with a better understanding of the benefits of vaping. This article was written expressly for Spinfuel eMagazine and cannot be republished without written consent from both John Fargo and Spinfuel eMagazine. If any part of the article is published elsewhere a link to the original source, Spinfuel eMagazine, must accompany it.