Vaping Congressman: The Controversy Behind The Hunter Bill
Who is Vaping Congressman?
Most politicians wouldn’t like for their name to be associated with vaping. However, California Representative Duncan Hunter surely is not the one to blend in the crowd. This man decided to use visual aids while proving his point last year during a House Transportation debate on whether vaping should be allowed on airplanes.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. D-D.C. pleaded to ban vaping in airplanes due to their potential to cause a fire. This act would accompany the prior prohibition of cigarette use in airplane cabins. Rep. Hunter disagreed and offered the people in the room and the TV viewers an opportunity to admire the rich vape clouds coming out of his vaporizer!
After inhaling and exhaling the first vape, Hunter explained his attitude by expressing the following:
- There is no combustion or carcinogens.
- It helped many people quit smoking, including him.
- The future medical potential of vaporizers lies in the possibility to inhale medications as part of regular treatment.
This brave/silly (whichever you prefer) act didn’t help his cause much since the airplane vaping ban is currently at force. Nonetheless, Hunter’s move has gone viral and became memorable.
FDA’s Deeming Regulations for E-Cigarettes
This title does not sound good for e-cigarette users, but what exactly does it mean? Deeming e-cigarettes means that the FDA can demand for e-cigarettes the same stringent requirements as for common cigarettes and tobacco products in general.
This obliges manufacturers of both common cigarettes and e-cigarettes to submit an application and a tiny document containing – all reports of investigation of health risks, full statement on all components, full description of methods of manufacturing and processing any many more sections. Some of the FDA’s requirements we’ve listed for you here.
Of course, it is neither easy nor cheap for anyone in the cigarette industry to apply, especially for e-cigarettes industry since it is mainly comprised of small and medium size businesses. This poses a great inconvenience both to the manufacturers and vaping buffs – no application, no possibility of manufacture.
What do we know so far about rep. Duncan Hunter? Well, we know that he likes to play video games in his free time since he is accused of certain campaign-money-videogames affairs. One more thing we know about him is that he likes to vape and isn‘t afraid to show it and to fight for it.
After the FDA enacted “deeming regulations” for e-cigarettes, rep. Hunter decided to respond by using legal documents. He introduced legislation aiming to prevent the FDA from “treating” vape devices and e-liquid as tobacco products since some of them do not even contain tobacco. The bill is formally introduced in Congress this year on April 27th, and is also known as the Hunter Bill (the designated number is HR 2194).
In other words, this bill should make possible ending the federal restrictions on all vaping products. According to Hunter, e-cigarettes should be removed from the wrong “tobacco product” categorization. Furthermore, the bill implies certain standards which would make vaping safer:
- E-liquid manufacturers should follow the American E-liquid Manufacturers Standards Association for the time being until permanent standards are created by the American National Standards Institute
- The standards for manufacture which reflect on atomizers, coils, etc. must be followed.
- Safety and hygienic standards, which especially reflect on the process of making e-liquid in safe hygienic and monitored conditions, must be 100% respected.
The bill also requires from the FDA to:
- Constrain advertising and marketing to minors
- Monitor facilities involved in the vaporizers manufacture process
- Introduce penalties for those who do not act by the manufacture rules
- Familiarize people with harm reduction and its strategies (since vaping is considered a harm reduction tool)
Are There More Vaping Congressmen?
It remains unclear how much support in Congress rep. Duncan Hunter has. No matter the exact number of people who oppose Hunter or not, he still needs the approval of the Senate. The problem is that Senate is divided on this issue. Hunter Bill is a serious document covering every aspect of e-cigarettes production so that each product is monitored and labeled with a specific serial number. Maybe the strongest and most effective part of this bill is that it demands the Secretary of Health and Human Services to do a thorough review of health risks based on the entire offer of tobacco products and their alternatives.
Maybe we will finally have more reasonable laws, based on actual scientifically reviewed data? One thing is for sure, Vaping Congressman, we need more of you.