Will FDA Decimate the Vapor Industry?
E-cigarettes are being highly condemned in the US, however, in the UK they’re believed to be the first real glimmer of hope in decades for smokers to say goodbye to their lethal addiction.
Taking the exact opposite stance to what most American politicians, public health officials and the FDA think, one of the biggest British medical organization has actually recommended e-cigarettes as an ideal smoking cessation product.
So, what causes this difference in opinion among the two highly developed countries? Put simply, in the UK, they’re looking at the glass half full, while in the US, they’re looking at it half empty.
FDA Releases Deeming Regulations
FDA released deeming regulations for regulating tobacco products and vaping gear under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Ironically, e-cigs don’t contain tobacco, while many don’t even contain nicotine, and yet will be treated pretty much like a tobacco product. Some people believe that FDA is trying to wipe out the whole e-cig industry. The humongous 499-page document released by FDA will take us some time to digest, but here are some key takeaways from the document we have figured out:
- The deemed products will be sold to people only over the age of 18, after age verification
- No free samples
- No vending machine sales
- Manufacturers will have to register their facility
- Manufacturers will have to prove FDA with all the listings of their products
- Manufacturers will have to provide FDA all the ingredients used in their products
- Any product that was introduced into the market after Feb. 15, 2007 will have to meet extremely stringent requirements, which are nearly impossible to meet. For instance, manufacturers will have to demonstrate that a product is safer than cigarettes, can help in quitting smoking, and won’t prove to be a gateway for non-smokers into tobacco world
- Every product will need to have health warning on packages
That’s a million-dollar question if e-cigs are that harmful that FDA wants to eliminate from the face of the earth. The report titled Nicotine Without Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction by Royal College of Physicians reveals facts that could help us find the answer.
The Royal College of Physicians – a highly revered group of UK-based doctors that helps in setting medical standards – has laid out their recommendations of vaping. The report categorically states that the advantages of e-cigs outweigh their “potential” harms. The report even dismisses the chances of e-cigs turning out to be a gateway to hooking younger generation to nicotine addiction.
“This is the first genuinely new way of helping people stop smoking that has come along in decades,” said John Britton, leading member of the committee of the doctors who produced the report. John is also the director of the U.K. Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham. He further said, “Electronic cigarettes have the potential to help half or more of all smokers get off cigarettes. That’s a huge health benefit, bigger than just about any medical intervention.”
Here are some of the important recommendations and observations taken from the report:
- Most of the harm to society and to individuals caused by smoking in the near-term future will occur in people who are smoking today.
- Quitting smoking is very difficult and most adults who smoke today will continue to smoke for many years.
- E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.
- The hazard to health arising from long-term vapor inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.
- There are concerns that e-cigarettes will increase tobacco smoking by renormalizing the act of smoking, acting as a gateway to smoking in young people, and being used for temporary, not permanent, abstinence from smoking, but to date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK.
What all these points really mean can be summarized as: smoking is damaging our society big time, but its intensity is supposed to come down in near future. Moreover, the addiction is very hard to get rid of, unless you’ve a very solid game plan, and e-cigs can prove to be a great aid in cessation. Also, e-cigs are at least 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes. The biggest concern people have about e-cigarettes is that they will hook up our young generation into smoking, however, so far this hasn’t really been the case.
In the United States, however, these arguments will most likely be taken with a pinch of salt. Although e-cigs can fulfill nicotine cravings for smokers, but the good thing is that their vapor doesn’t have the tar or other harmful chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer or other diseases. This is why some American health professionals consider e-cigs as a good alternative for cigarettes, however, a majority – including the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – are more keen on highlighting the potential, long-term health concerns.
So, we have a rather interesting situation, where the two countries have the exact opposite position on an issue. One is looking at the hypothetical risks – which are yet to be established scientifically – while the other is looking at the benefits, many have actually reaped.
Unlike in the past, most smokers today are largely poor and not highly educated. The million-dollar question is that do we need to focus on saving their lives or should we rather worry about the kids, who are more likely to have a better understanding of healthy life, getting attracted to smoking through the gateway of e-cigs in about 30 years from now?
E-cigarette market has exploded exponentially in the past few years, and the government hasn’t been able to keep up the pace to regulate them. The FDA has finally revealed their regulations, however, they’re not final yet. You can expect lawsuits being filed against the regulations, which could result in the implementation of the regulations postponed for god knows how long.
In short, almost everything is on the line, but let’s take a quick look at some of the major issues the new FDA regulations will cause for e-cig industry.
First of all, the grandfather date is set way back to Feb 15 2007, which means that manufacturer of almost every vaping product you see on the market will have to apply for permission to sell their products. This can result in decimation of almost all the vaping gear because of two reasons: firstly, the requirements are so stringent that they’re virtually impossible to be met. Secondly, although vapor industry is flourishing, yet most manufacturers don’t have sufficient funds to pay for the expensive certification. So, you could end up having to choose from only a few products offered by big tobacco companies that have the resources but they would never want you to switch from lethal tobacco to more affordable and safer vapor.
Another thing that could have drastic impacts on the industry is that FDA aims to stop vending machine sales; and they might also extend this restriction to online sales. While you might be able to find some e-cigs and vaping gear in local stores, however, most brands and several exclusive discount offers are only available on line. If there is a restriction on online sales, the whole vapor industry can fall flat on its face.
FDA also plans to regulate flavors, which are an integral part of any e-cigarette. In other words, no flavor, no vaping. And a lot of people will be forced to go back to tobacco cigarette.
While nobody is sure how the regulation will impact vaping industry and its enthusiasts, but it will be worse than we think.
Unfortunately, while UK sees hope in electronic cigarettes, America sees fear. Let’s not forget that because of tobacco cigarettes, around 480,000 people die every year in America alone. While we might have to wait for further research, but Robert West, director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, UK claimed after scrutinizing monthly household survey data since 2009 that e-cigs can increase the chances of success up to 50% of quitting tobacco as compared to other methods. According to Robert’s estimates, more than 20,000 Brits gave up tobacco cigarettes by switching to e-cigs in 2014 alone.
There is a plethora of studies that suggest e-cigs are much safer than tobacco; in fact, one study suggests that their harm is very unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm caused by traditional cigarettes. Let’s not forget that e-cigarette market is in its infancy and as the technology advances, the improvement in quality will result in further reduction of any potential harm. We sincerely hope to have better technology in near future, that will help save people’s lives, without any side effects.
The Mig Vapor team – that mainly consists of ex-smokers – realizes the harm and cost reduction benefits of vaping. We know that e-cigs are the real hope for some chain smokers (and me, an author of this post, actually one of these people). It will very unfortunate if vapor industry gets the axe, as a majority of vapers will be left with no choice but to go back to traditional cigarettes. In fact, it’s ridiculous how states and federal government has spent millions of dollars to discourage smoking, and now they are about to implement regulations that will be counterproductive.
We are here to stand against any regulations that will bring more harm to the community than benefit, and if you are a vaper, current or ex-smoker, friend of family member of someone whose life can be changed by e-cigs, or just a concerned citizen, we want you to stand with us.
FDA’s proposed deeming regulations will be presented to Congress very soon, and we have no time to lose. The good thing is that Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma has HR 2058 that could prove to be a godsend for vapor industry.
It’s a bill that proposes to amend the FDA’s proposed regulations:
To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for a certain effective date with respect to deemed tobacco products, and for other purposes.
If the grandfather date is changed, most of the vapor products available today will remain to be available on the market without having to go through the burdensome pre-market FDA approval process.
Although, Mig Vapor proudly supports HR 2058, we would ideally want a separate regulatory scheme for vaping gear as they are not tobacco products. Remember, nicotine is addictive but the real harm to the human body is done by tar and other chemicals produced when tobacco is burned in a cigarette, and in case of e-cigs, there is neither combustion nor any chemicals or tar produced.
If you want to support our cause, here are a few things you can do.
- Support HR 2058. Look up who represents you in the US congress by clicking here, and send them a message to show you stand with AG Tom Miller, Mig Vapor and many others who realize the benefits of e-cigs
- Request your local vapor shop to put a flyer supporting amendments in FDA’s deeming regulations
- Like thousands of others, sign online petitions to show your support for vapor industry
- Share this post on social media and also ask friends and family to support us