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“Thoughts on the Proposed Deeming Regulations”

by Cynthia Cabrera

Executive Director, Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association

Due to a history (and tobacco wars) that most people currently in the vapor industry know little about and really had nothing to do with; the FDA was destined to have to find a home for vapor products.  For a variety of reasons, we have found ourselves in a place where trying to place this round peg of vapor products into this square hole of tobacco.  The fact that vapor products contain nicotine, that big tobacco has entered the game, that cig-alike companies have stated they speak for the entire industry and then claimed that vapor products are exactly like tobacco products, and other issues have created a scenario where the vapor industry has to defend itself not only from outsides, but also from “insiders”.

Thanks to these disparate forces the vapor industry now faces proposed regulation that could be devastating; stifling innovation and raising the barrier to entry to a level that is unreachable by the very entrepreneurs who pioneered the space.   This proposed regulation is based on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) of 2009 that was created to address the harm and damage caused by big tobacco during the many years tobacco companies spent years obfuscating the truth about the addictiveness and harm combusted tobacco products caused consumers.

The threat to vapor products lies in being characterized like “tobacco” because the FSPTCA was designed to ensure it would be extremely difficult and expensive to introduce a new “tobacco” product.   Those comfortable with vapor products being labeled and treated like combusted tobacco cigarettes fail to realize it’s a death sentence for the continuous innovation the vapor industry produces.   Visionaries pioneered the vapor industry, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit of this country but the FSPTCA ensures that no new innovation will ever come from the tobacco industry; clearly those two things are at odds with each other. 

Specifically troubling are (1) the February 2007 “grandfather date”; meaning that any vapor products on the market must be substantially equivalent to products being marketed and sold on February 15, 2007 and (2) products not meeting the grandfather date will have to submit Pre-Market Application (PMTA) each products and hope for approval; this in and of itself will greatly change the current landscape.

Regardless of the outcome of the proposed regulation we are already beginning to the industry be consolidated; the final outcome will result in far fewer consumer choices or the continued expansion of products provided by a much smaller group.

Despite these challenges, all is not lost.  This industry has the opportunity to face the forces working against it with a united front.  Making money in the vapor space is easy, the hard work lies in recognizing the value of a free market and the strength numbers provide.   Now is the time for the vapor industry to combine forces and advocate, lobby and educate to secure its’ future.

Want more information on what has changed within the eCig Industry? Read our previous Guest Blog by Glenn Kassel of SFATA to find out >