We all know as vapers that the FDA is proposing to pass laws this year to regulate our vaping industry. Both sides are struggling to draw the line between regulating and prohibition. On one side there’s the health organizations who have teamed up with Big Tobacco, and on the other you have the vaping community and free enterprise advocates.
The CDC and CDPH, as well as Big Tobacco, want the FDA to keep the February 2007 grandfather date for regulating new tobacco products. This includes our beloved vaping products unfortunately. However, this will essentially force most vaping businesses to close shop because of the astronomical cost to meet the lengthy approval process involved.
The vaping industry is trying to change the grandfather date to allow small businesses to compete with the money, power, influence, and distribution of Big Tobacco. This would mean independent vaping businesses could continue to operate as long as they meet FDA standards.
If vape laws go forward as currently proposed by the FDA, any new tobacco product that was not sold prior to February 2007, including 99% of ecigs and eliquids, will have to shell out the cash to pass through the FDA approval process. It really comes down to that.
There are already bills in Congress that are calling for changing the grandfather date, and for keeping it. The FDA also has the discretion to change the date at any time.
The FDA regulating process can cost millions upon millions of dollars. This is nothing for Big Tobacco, but will crush 99% of vaping companies. We just don’t have the resources as these conglomerate industries.
Just imagine, you are a hard-working ecig company that has been competing with 500 ecig brands. It is American free enterprise at its best. You have been driven to achieve the very best quality and have invested heavily in making better, safer ejuice and better products. You have an FDA approved lab, you follow strict production protocols and you make the purest, best ejuice in the world. Soul Vapor E Liquid falls into this category as a premium juice label.
The new vape law requires that you must now submit every product for specific approval. One product alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to approve. Thus, one flavor with 5 nicotine levels can cost millions so it’s either scale back or close shop.
On the other hand, Big Tobacco has billions of dollars and FDA connections at its disposal. This means they will breeze through the approval process and dust any competition. They may even end up monopolizing the vaping industry. This can wind up pushing vaping underground. Bad news for those trying to quit smoking.
In the current status of the ecig industry, casual users see ecigarettes as on the same level as tobacco products. In fact, when people think about vaping they picture brands like Vuse, Blu Cigs, or Mark Ten, all which are owned by Big Tobacco. This is why they are in every gas station to begin with.
Following any imposed vape laws by the FDA, you are still going to see those same products in the same places. You can basically consider those Big Tobacco ecig products to be secure from any detrimental regulation.
The issue here is that most vapers don’t use “ecig” devices. Most vapers used advanced mods, tanks, and other accessories. The advancement in technology has made vaping a vast enterprise with limitless possibility.
Does this mean the FDA regulations will force vapers to go back to vaping ecigs sold by Big Tobacco? They are certainly hoping so, but most vapers say “no way” to supporting Big Tobacco and its ecig products.
Considering the multitude of options for hardware and juice made available to vapers today it’s unlikely vapers will wan to regress by using such devices. Basic ecigs are fine for beginners who have just recently quit smoking, but the vaping industry is thriving and not looking back. We as vapers may have no choice but to go underground.
No regulation can stop vapers from buying vaping devices unless they ban batteries, kanthal wire, and cotton. Obviously this won’t happen though. Vapers will always have access to hardware, it’s the e-liquid they may have a tough time acquiring.
There is a serious danger here. Eliquid should be blended in a lab setting and blended by professionals. Recent studies have shown that vape shop eliquids often have the wrong nicotine levels.
It has also been estimated by ecig advocates that 74% of eliquid contain diaceytl, which has been connected to popcorn lung, which is a serious and potentially fatal lung condition. There are quality eliquids out there like Soul Vapor E Liquid that do not use diacetyl but there are many more that are not professionally blended.
Regulation is needed but to incidentally wipe out the good eliquid companies by forcing them to pay millions for the FDA approval process. Implementing standards and then enforcing them would make more sense. There is no doubt that forcing eliquids into a black market will put people at risk.
What will happen if vapers are forced underground? Will it result in an eliquid black market? It could, and already has. There are a couple scenarios that could play out if vape laws wipe out eliquids containing nicotine.
Scenario one: Vendors and companies continue to sell eliquid without nicotine. With this vapers have the option of adding their own nicotine. This sounds reasonable but storing a container of pure nicotine create a risk of contamination. Knowing how much to add can be tricky too. Lab procedures demand exact standards and testing. Under ‘do it yourself’ conditions there is a risk for miscalculating the nicotine content as well as potential contaminants.
Scenario two: Eliquid goes underground and is blended by people who do not know what they are doing and have no obligation to use the best ingredients. In this case, vapers will be forced to sneak around and put themselves at risk vaping eliquid with who knows what in it.
If vapers are forced underground, no one wins except smoking and Big Tobacco.
If vape laws go forward as currently proposed by the FDA, some anti-vaping groups and Big Tobacco will celebrate but we will be taking a giant leap backward in the fight against tobacco harm.