As a vaper, you are a rebel, a maverick, an underdog, and a member of one of the most revolutionary movements of the century.
Your community has to face persecution from a massive, greed machine – Big Tobacco; an all-engrossing, relentless Big Pharma; and a corrupt government and federal system.
As a vaper, your community is up against a lot. The best resource to find out about what perils the vape industry is facing is the documentary A Billion Lives: A True Story of Government Failure, Big Business, and the Vaping Revolution.
Let’s recap on where the vape industry stands right now.
Right now, not much has changed since our blog post regarding Trump’s potential effects on the vape industry.
- We still expect Trump to reform the FDA.
- We're still hearing rumours that Trump has Jim O'Neill on the cards as the commissioner of the FDA.
- Trump is still playing nicely with Big Pharma.
- PMI has launched the iQOS.
- The FDA have not changed their deeming rules, grandfather date and general draconian stance on the vape industry.
Not much has changed, except for one thing. While we were chuckling at lurve stories, The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 was introduced.
This is a bill that has the potential to stop the FDA deeming rule in its tracks. You and your favorite e-liquids could be safe. Although the bill has been introduced, it hasn’t been made official yet, but it’s a pretty interesting sign of the vaping times.
1. New e-cigarette bill. New hope for vapers or stealth move in the war against e-cigs?
The vape world is abuzz with hopeful feelings!
The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017, also referred to as HR 2058, is a bill put forward last week on the 16th of February by these two guys pictured below, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congressman Sanford Bishop (GA-02).
Although they might not look like your typical vape advocates (what do a vape advocates look like? I’m not sure), these two Republican gentlemen put together a bill that they imply would treat small vape entrepreneurs with fairness.
The aim of this legislation is to “ensure sensible regulations for newly ‘deemed’ tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)”. In other words, reform the FDA’s deeming rules, grandfather date and general draconian stance.
FDA deeming rules? What FDA deeming rules?
The Tobacco Control Act (TCA), passed in 2009, allowed the FDA to regulate tobacco products under a “deeming process.”
The FDA implemented a deeming rule in 2016: instead of grandfathering existing products, the agency’s authority also extended to cigars, pipe tobacco and vaping products. This rule uses the February 15, 2007 predicate date that is set in statute.
According to Congressman Cole’s press release The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 ”would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to change the predicate date”.
What’s more HR 2058 would “impose common-sense licensing and advertising guidelines for vapor products”. Furthermore, the bill includes a very necessary and inspired clause that would “direct the FDA to establish product standards for vapor product batteries”.
In short “[t]his legislation preserves the FDA’s ability to regulate these products on part with cigarettes, grandfathers currently available products and then requires the FDA’s approval before any new product is introduced.” - Representative Tom Cole.
2. Why HR 2058 bill might actually get passed. Vape TAX!
While this is exciting news, it’s important to note that this bill has not been passed yet. If we look at everything the vape industry has had against it in the past, it’s difficult to remain optimistic that this new vape bill will go through.
So why could The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 be passed? Well, I’m not conspiracy theorist, but my guess would be because of one thing, TAXES.
The second sign of impending doom is the massive increases in vape tax we've seen around the country.
Vape tax gone cray, taxing all the e-cigs and all the e-liquids!
While we are all bemoaning the FDA rules on one hand, on the other, vape tax has been skyrocketing in states across the country.
A 40 percent tax exists in Pennsylvania, leading to almost 100 stores closing.
A tax of 20 cents per milliliter of e liquid is in the process of being enforced in Kansas.
In Ohio, there is a proposed increase from 17 percent to a massive 69 percent tax on vape products.
A tax of 10 cents per milliliter of e juice is proposed for the state of New York.
SO, THEY LOOSEN UP THE FDA’S RULES,
KEEP LOTS OF TAXABLE PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET,
AND LET VAPERS VAPE,
BUT THEY TAX THE HELL OUT OF THEM!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MON-EEEY…
E liquids contain nicotine the same as nicotine gum and patches. So why aren’t governments taxing those products like tobacco products? Because they don’t work? Because Big Pharma own those companies?
3. Why HR 2058 won’t get passed… yet. Big Tobacco companies have the money (and they hate the vape industry)
The FDA’s deeming rules make it very, very difficult for vape companies to do business. However, the FDA argues that its rules are fair.
The FDA argues that some newly deemed products will qualify as “grandfathered” products under the statute and any that they do not grandfather will be able to apply for premarket authorization.
Of course, each of these Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs) cost money. Money, money, money. It’s money that a great number of vape companies simply don’t have.
Who does have the money? Big Tobacco has the money. And they don’t want to share.
BIG TOBACCO is big, much bigger than your local e juice company.
Caruana at Vaping Post makes a strong point when she explains that all that the FDA’s deeming rule has achieved so far is “to push small vaping entrepreneurs out of business”.
Caruana holds that it is only the big tobacco companies, now also branching out to e cigs, which are able to afford the unreasonable licensing fees imposed by the FDA.
Is it coincidence that the FDA approved Phillip Morris and Altria’s iQOS – a device that heats traditional tobacco, without burning it – in December 2016, just a couple of months before it’s launch?
Even though the device doesn’t burn tobacco, it still uses traditional tobacco that still contains all of the nasty toxins. As a vaper, you switch to good quality, tested e liquids because they are verified not to contain any of that crap.
4. “Modified risk” devices - big tobacco’s answer to the e-cigarette
Surely these massive tobacco companies must have known that the FDA would approve their product? Otherwise, how would the stock be available for the 1 million Japanese smokers who have reportedly switched over from normal cigs?
According to Blackwell at National Post “In Japan, a million smokers have switched to the iQOS.” It’s no coincidence that, in Japan, only 0mg nicotine e juice is legal to sell.
Keep in mind that British American Tobacco Pl and Reynolds American Inc are merging. Do they also have a so-called “modified risk” device up their sleeves too?
Big Tobacco has been trying to get into the e-cigarette industry for years now. And the FDA’s expensive deeming rule could just be the chance the giant corporations need.
A worst-case scenario on the future of e cigarettes and the vape industry, from a conspiracy theory point of view.
So, to give a perspective of the worst case scenario that we might be looking at:
Most vape companies are pushed out of business,
Vape products are reduced in number and variety,
E cigarettes possibly are reduced in quality and innovation,
Decent e liquids are too expensive to afford.
Vapers and smokers all turn to Big Tobacco “modified risk” devices.
Smokers still want to quit. Many vapers are still addicted to nicotine. This is exactly where Big Tobacco, with their “modified risk” devices, step-in. So, everyone’s like, “Well, at least it’s not cigarettes”.
At this point, any FDA reform would just be beneficial to Big Tobacco. Loosen the rules; let Big Tobacco do whatever they want. Not to mention, Big Pharma.
5. BIG PHARMA is making deals (and hates the vape industry)
Actually, let’s mention the Big Pharmaceutical companies. You know, the ones that Trump’s been making deals with lately.
Trump’s FDA reform appears to be in the favor of Big Pharma, allowing these corporations to have free reign over drug prices.
According to Matt Rowland at Vapes:
Obama said that Big Pharma would only have to reduce their prices a little, but in exchange, they could place one of their Head Honchos in charge of the new branch of the FDA called the Center for Tobacco Products. Big Pharma chose Mitch Zeller from GlaxoSmithKline, and the Obama Administration gave him full reign over the new agency. And Mitch Zeller is the man most responsible for creating the new FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the entire vaping industry by 2018.
Trump declared his new plan for lower drug prices: to create a more competitive market; give pharmaceutical companies tax breaks; and “get rid of a tremendous number of regulations” (Trump cited by RT).
The e-cig industry, which is putting big dents in Big Pharma’s smoking cessation drug profits, hopes that a reform will save the vape industry and satisfy Big Pharma with bigger dollars in other drugs.
Other drugs? Such as the ones prescribed for lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and other smoking-related diseases. Or what about Chantix, that smoking-cessation drug linked to suicide?
Public Health England has established that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. More vapers, less drug profits.
Vapocalypse - the end of the vape world, the multinational corporations win the war against e-cigarettes
Thing is, if the worst-case scenario plays out, then it really will have apocalyptic consequences for so many individuals.
Business will sink and take jobs down with them. Instead of e liquids crafted with care and devotion right here in the USA, people who need help getting off cigarettes will have no choice but to turn to products that contain mass-produced, chemical-ridden tobacco. That, or Big Pharma drugs.
Or would the vape industry go underground? Will e juice become the moonshine of the 21st century?
We sincerely hope that it doesn’t come to that. Really we do. That's why we urge you to join CASAA as soon as possible!