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FDA Regs Already Killing Vape

Although they only came in a week ago, the FDA’s regulations are already killing off vape businesses

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came into effect on the 8th August, but people are lining up already to point out the catastrophic effect they’re having. Commentators are critical of the impact on business owners and employees, but they’re also critical of the effect it will have on current smokers and vapers.

Pantagram’s business section wails: “It's time to say goodbye to the electronic cigarette industry as we know it.” Disclosing the contents of eliquid might seem a reasonable imposition, warning labels make sense even if they are rarely read – but it is the demand that companies apply for ridiculously expensive new product approval that Pantagram believe will put pay to the sector.

“Devices introduced before the … cutoff date can be marketed for up to three more years,” it reports. “Not surprisingly, manufacturers took the Aug. 8 cutoff as an opportunity to flood the market with new products.” Many of these items don’t exist in stores; Evolv released exceptionally limited runs of its DNA 60 and 250 chips for example, so manufacturers could build a single device to beat the deadline.

The article points to how easy it will be for tobacco companies to dominate the new landscape. With a free cash flow of $5.6 billion in 2015, Altira are well placed to afford the million dollars per item application process. But this does not necessarily bode well for the long-term. Although many POTV vapers might not agree with the description of vaping being “a fad”, there is a huge question mark over whether Big T can master what makes the ecig appeal to advanced users.

In talking about how tobacco companies fingerprints are all over the FDA’s regulatory paperwork, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states: “Lovers of freedom and enemies of regulatory overkill do not exaggerate when they say FDA rules are designed to murder numerous small manufacturers and thousands of ‘vape’ shops that account for about half the electronic-cigarette business.”

The WSJ called the regulations “misguided”, call it a “nicotine crusade” and claim that it “was practically written by Philip Morris (now called Altria).”

It quotes Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine explaining why the regulations are so misguided: “The FDA’s regulatory scheme, in other words, privileges the most dangerous nicotine delivery devices (conventional cigarettes) while threatening to eliminate much safer alternatives and blocking the introduction of even better products.”

This flawed thinking runs to the heart of what troubles Caroline Kitchens of The Hill, as she warns: “New FDA vaping regulations will harm public health. Thanks to FDA bureaucrats, we could remember this past Monday as the beginning of the end of what was probably the most innovative and promising smoking-cessation industry ever to enter the U.S. market.”

These might be nothing more than opinions, but Eric Boehm doesn’t believe the FDA were ever interested in facts. Also writing on the Reason blog, Boehm sadly cites the experience of one of the first casualties: “The consequences are already being felt at places like The Electric Cigarette Lounge in Sacramento, California, which shut its doors for good this week. The store's owner told local TV station KCRA that the FDA's rules snuffed out his business.”

While it might be fair to state that we have definitely passed the end of the beginning for vaping, is this the beginning of the end?

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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