Ecig brands got some good news recently, and vapers should be rejoicing too. The House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would change the way in which the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates electronic cigarettes. Key in this discussion is the so-called grandfathering date for ecigarettes that threatens to wipe out the large majority of ecig brands by forcing them to go through a long and expensive process to remain viable. In the meantime, they would be forced to stop selling these products.
This is because the date written into the FDA deeming regulation is currently set to February 15th, 2007. If passed as is, the new regulations would allow any products on the market before that to continue being sold, while any technology released after the date to be immediately pulled from shelves. Ecig brands would have to battle a cumbersome system to get these products re-approved, if they were even able to do so. That wouldn’t just be fateful for ecig brands, but just as much so for vapers that rely on these products.
The date itself actually has nothing to do with electronic cigarettes. It’s actually a date that was targeted against the traditional tobacco cigarette industry. It first came into being in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and it seems to have been tacked on to the deeming regulation because no other date was chosen. It’s something ecig brands have been screaming about ever since, although it didn’t seem to matter all to much until recently. Now with the FDA deeming rule being finalized and only awaiting a final signing, things have gotten more serious.
Ecig Brands Still Targeted
The good news is that this amendment to the rule has passed an important committee in the House of Representatives. The bad news is that ecig brands are still being targeted and this isn’t the end of the fight. This amendment still has to pass in the Senate before it can move forward and make a permanent change in the FDA deeming regulation.
Along the way there will be plenty of kicking and screaming from certain congressmen and congresswomen, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
Shultz, the Democratic National Committee Chair, ripped into ecig brands and their users before the vote was taken. “It’s nice to hear there are some who believe — although we don’t have data to attach to that — that they have been able to eliminate their addiction to cigarettes by using these products, but the purpose of this industry is to keep people addicted to nicotine and raise another generation of children who are addicted to nicotine,” she insisted. That’s a slap in the face of so many of the pioneers of the vaping revolution who sought to create a real alternative for smokers and have succeeded. We’re not so naïve to think that ecig brands aren’t in it for the money first and foremost, but Shultz insults and industry she clearly knows little about and along the way belittles the intelligence of vapers everywhere.
On the other hand we have congressman Andy Harris of Maryland who understands that the key is to regulate ecig brands in the right away while allowing them to develop. “I don’t think anyone would argue that a cigarette burning raw tobacco is more harmful than using a vapor product, which is the refined nicotine,” he said during the committee meeting. That’s at least a step in the right direction, although he also mentioned that the FDA could regulate ecig flavors and the level of formaldehyde in them, two myths that have been disproven long ago.
All in all, the passage of this vote at the very least gives us something positive to talk about. There has been way too much negativity to report on in the ecig news lately, so it feels good to have things go the way they should. It’s a reminder that in this long hard battle for vapers rights, there will be downs, but there will also be ups. The House Appropriations Committee took a step in the right direction last week and we applaud them for that. Let’s hope we see more steps along the same path, so millions more can benefit from the power of electronic cigarettes to change lives.