End of the Ecig Golden Age?

Posted 17th August 2016 by Dave Cross
So began the two-year countdown to the obliteration of the American vape market as the clocks ticked into August 8th. While some see hope that common sense will win, the overwhelming feeling is a negative one – all set against the backdrop of screenings of the A Billion Lives film. What is certain is that vape businesses have never faced greater challenges on both sides of the Atlantic.

Michelle Minton of Inside Sources asked: “How Many Americans Will Die Because of the FDA’s Vaping Rule?” In posing the question, she wondered why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ploughing ahead with regulations that cast smokers adrift, leaving them to a future of premature tobacco-related death.

“The reason is simple: regulator over-caution,” she continues. “In the case of electronic cigarettes, they are sacrificing the millions of people who will certainly die because of their tobacco addiction for the unknown number of people who might be harmed by the long-term effects of nicotine found in vaping products.”

Following a rush to release new products onto the market before the cut-off on the 8th, shops in America will continue to stock and sell vaping equipment up to August 8th, 2018. Currently, all products brought to market after 2007 will need to have successfully applied for approval to continue to be sold after that period. Given the huge cost per product (estimated in the region of $1million per product) it is probable that most items will simply vanish at that point.

The fight is on to change the date of 2007 to a more reasonable 2016, otherwise known as the grandfather date. “Some stateside observers see this as creating a stranglehold,” writes Chris Pentago, “claiming a tobacco-industry conspiracy and predicting that the vaping market ‘will be frozen’ come August.”

Vapers will notice changes in the meantime though. For a start there’ll be no more free sampling of liquids – but, without any clear guidance coming from the FDA, shops are left unsure of how to implement a pay per puff system for trialling juices. Likewise, stores offering coiling services are going to struggle with the grey area of whether a new coil technically makes the atomiser a new type of device.

So how do vapers and businesses move forward from here? Phil Busardo comments: “We need to stop the bickering and stop bashing one another and realize that if we want to have freedom to do what we do best, we have to learn to play the political game.”

“Vendors should be donating some proceeds to the appropriate groups that in turn, put those funds into political action committees on both the federal and state level because essentially, we are paying our representatives to push our agenda to the congress, senate and all other entities that apply. I’m not a politician, I don’t claim to know much about this, but I do know that the groups that have vested interest in putting us out of business, are paying to do so.”

Clive Bates believes there is only one winner from the change: “As is, deeming regs are a clear ‘win’ for Big Tobacco, not necessarily public health.” He points out a quote from Wells Fargo Securities: “We expect to see a continued shift in consumption of e-cigs/vapour back to combustible cigs as e-cig choices become more limited, a net ‘win’ for big tobacco. This has continued to baffle us given the FDA’s public health priorities”.

Maybe Phil Busardo is correct about vapers needing to change how they campaign, what do you think?

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker